An Entire Section Of Delhi Is Burning – All For Political Mileage?

On December 12, 2019, the Bharatiya Janta Party passed a new citizenship law, i.e. the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 in the Lok Sabha. According to this law, all immigrants of Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Parsi, Christian and Buddhist identity will be granted citizenship on the basis of facing religious persecution in three countries, i.e. Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

This law has no provision for Muslims even though Muslims around the world have faced religious persecution, and continue to face it in our neighbouring countries – such as the Ahmadiyyas in Pakistan, the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and the Uyghurs in China.

Another provision of this act is those who had entered India between 1951 and 1971 would be granted citizenship and those who had done so after 1971 would be sent to detention centres. The cutoff date for finalising the NRC (National Register of Citizens) for Assam has been set at March 24, 1971.

This particular law led to nationwide protests as it is not only divisive but also violates Article 14 of the Indian Constitution which states prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth. The CAA leaves out Muslims. I believe that this law is communal as well.

Along with protests, this law has also led to nationwide violence, with almost hundreds of people dying in states such as Uttar Pradesh. Violence was also inflicted on students of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University. The Delhi Police brutally attacked the students of Jamia Millia Islamia where they ransacked the library in December 2019.

This law also gave rise to a revolutionary movement in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, which was led by women of that area. But, after a month and a half, the movement was politicised by the leaders of Bharatiya Janta Party to gain votes for the upcoming Delhi Assembly Elections. They went on to say that people living in that area, especially men, would go into the house of Hindu families and would rape their daughters and wives thus, instigating communal hatred between the two communities.

Kapil Mishra, the party’s leader, who contested from Model Town and lost the seat to an AAP leader even referred to the people of Shaheen Bagh as ‘Pakistanis’ and had tweeted that on February 8, that whatever ensued would be a match between India and Pakistan.

Now if we talk about the current scenario, just two days ago, the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump had come to India for a two-day visit. All the jazz of welcoming him was conducted quite successfully but on the other hand, the whole state of Delhi state woke up to burning violence.

Northeast Delhi broke out in mob violence. Delhi’s Chand Bagh, Khajuri Khas, Bhajanpura and Seelampur have been affected. People of both the communities started killing each other. As many as 34 people have died as of now. And around 250 people have been injured.

The reason for all this violence is quite simple. Kapil Mishra once again tried to mislead people of both communities by instigating violence through conducting a rally in one of the affected areas and warning the anti-CAA protestors to end their protest otherwise, there would be dire consequences.

Many leaders of opposition parties have been demanding the resignation of the Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The Delhi Police, which comes under his direct control have again failed to take control of the situation as it has only gotten worse. They have again become mute spectators. The situation went out of hand and the Delhi government had to call the army and seek their help.

Section 144 have been imposed in these areas and the CBSE board examinations which were supposed to be held in these areas have been postponed. How can they meddle with the board examinations!

I believe the reason why Kapil Mishra or Waris Pathan, the leader of AIMIM whose comment also instigated violence is because they were political stunts, or as they say, a ‘state organised protest.’ But what these political leaders don’t realise is that in their greed for political gains it’s the innocent people who suffer and it is these individuals only from whom they plead for votes during the time of elections!

In the protest, a Muslim man opened fire and some Hindus pelted stones, burnt shops and houses belonging to Muslims. The National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval had yesterday gone to inspect the situation and ensured the people of these areas that they will be provided safety and the situation would soon become normal.

But what about those families who have lost their loved ones? Who is going to provide justice to them? I think it’s high time that leaders like Kapil Mishra be suspended for instigating communal hatred through their hate speeches just to gain political seats.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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