Was it fair to call-off the protests at Mumbai Bagh?

Mumbai Bagh called off the protest while people protesting at Shaheen Bagh were asked to vacate the place. Was the timing of it right given the way COVID-19 is spreading in the country

Was it fair to call-off the protests at Mumbai Bagh?

2020 will surely go down in the history books as the year of unprecedented events. It started with nationwide protests about CAA and anti-CAA across the country and now we are in a complete lockdown for 21 days. 

Earlier in the week, the protesters at Mumbai Bagh announced that they will be calling an end to their protest. A day later, the Delhi police put an end to the anti-CAA stir at Delhi's Shaheen Bagh.

In the light of how things are panning out, do you think it was fair to end protest or to use to clear the place? Does it signal that the people protesting have thrown in the towel? That they have given in? Or is it something that one has to do with the timing. Given that coronavirus is spreading like a wildfire in India and the government is trying to make sure we don't get to stage 3, it is imperative that people avoid crowded places. So should this directive be applicable for the protests too? 

In my opinion, the ladies in Mumbai Bagh get a brownie points for handling this matter with such grace. 

First things first, this blog is not about supporting or not supporting CAA. But as an individual, I do feel that every person that is a part of a democratic setup, should have the right to protest. S/he should be able to voice about their views about policies and acts that they feel are not just or as per them not suited to the times that we are in or that need to be changed. Irrespective of the matter at hand, everyone should be given the freedom to express their opinion within a set boundary, which means that it should be done peacefully. We should always be open to hearing what the other person is and be objective about what their stand on the issue is. By large the protests that were happening at Shaheen Bagh and Mumbai bagh were broadly in that perimeter. 

While there was a debate on whether that should have been the place of choice and inconvenience caused to people, I would agree there could have been ways to plan this better. However, the protests at both Shaheen Bagh and Mumbai Bagh have been going on for months and one must salute the resilience of protestors for the same.

It is indeed one of the longest-running protests that I have seen in my living memory. The other notable one I remember is the candlelight marches that were organized at the time of the Nirbhaya rape case.

Coming back to the current protest, I think it was sensible to call these off. There is a bigger threat that one is dealing with now - COVID-19. And this virus does not discriminate. At this juncture, where social distancing has become the need of the hour, one has no choice but to pause the earlier concern/s. Like I said earlier, I will give brownie points for the ladies at Mumbai Bagh for gracefully calling off the protest when they did. As soon as it looked that the things were getting out of control and with coronavirus spreading fast across the state and country, this was the best decision to make.

This should not be taken as a sign of weakness but that of prudence. Most of us know life is about priorities and balances and while the cause they are protesting for is an important one (for them), there is far greater threat lurching at the moment. If we get through this, which with all the drastic measures the government is taking we should, there will be still time to get back to talk anti-CAA. On the other hand, If this virus is able to get a grip in India, and given our geographical composition and the size of our population, it would put a massive strain on our healthcare. Also, it may result in massive casualties much like what we are seeing in some of the European countries such as Spain and Italy.  

By taking back the protest, women in Mumbai Bagh also showed that they are in with the times. They have sent the message loud and clear that they are not so blind-sighted by their cause that they can't look at the bigger picture. While the action of Shaheen Bagh protests is coming across as arrogant. They should too have taken the cue and called off the protest when there was a chance.

After we have tamed this monster of a virus (coronavirus) one can always look at reviving the protests. Sure it may have lost some steam but then of they believe in the cause, one can always drum up support from existing and new supporters.

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