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The rise and fall of Shaneen Bagh protest: Reading between lines

By - 24 Mar 2020
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The prolonged Shaheen Bagh protest against NRC and CAA came to an inevitable end with the Government finally evacuating the venue. The threat of coronavirus pandemic loomed large over Delhi. The Delhi police cleared the road with some detentions who refused to abide by the constant appeal.

The protesters got the longest leverage for dissenting voice but had they vacated the road on their own they would have upper hand and a moral victory of the sort.

Many factors played crucial role. People say that ferries that were being taken to bring and drop people were forced to discontinue due to restriction on movement of vehicles and UP border was completely sealed. Coronavirus spreads in the area could be mayhem all around which gave the crack down on them a legitimate ground. 

Anti CAA protests in Lucknow was called off in rather better way. Reportedly, the organisers had run out of resources, so they themselves wanted this to happen as they were finding it embarrassing to tell protesters to vacate the place. New arrangements were casting them more with mask, sanitisers, wooden cots, more waters and many other such things.  Worth underlying is the way the Shaheen Bagh movement died down. 

It failed to understand the principles of Gandhian protest which believed that any mass movement has its own strengths and inherent weaknesses as well. It is powerful yet cannot sustain too long. A section of historians often criticise Mahatma Gandhi for withdrawing several mass-movements suddenly but others praise Gandhi for his very wisdom. Gandhi believed that mass-movements should be ended right before it loses its steam and esteem. Though it played crucial role in registering its protest and underlined that India has space for dissenting voice.  

This is what Shaheen Bagh protesters and failed to understand and Shaheen Bagh protestors lost its steam to keep it energised. The unprecedented Coronavirus outbreak gave the government legitimate passage to evacuate.   

(By Rakesh Ranjan)

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