Hyderabad: “I never intended to become an activist I only wanted to be a student,” revealed Ladeeda Sakhaloon, one of the brave hijab-donning girls who has become one of the faces of the anti-CAA-NRC demonstration that sparked protests all over the country. During the “Chalo Osmania” event on Monday she and her Jamia comrade Ayesha Renna addressed and energetic crowd of Osmania University students and Hyderabadis from OU’s Arts and Commerce.
The video of these two girls saving their journalist companion from girls won them the admiration of many crusaders against the high-handedness of the ruling BJP party.
Towards building whose blend of Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh architecture that symbolizes the city’s secularism, chants of “Hindu-Muslim Bhai” reverberated.
Sakakhalon also demanded that UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath released political prisoners who raised their voice against the CAA initiatives while also asking Amit Shah to scrap such draconian, communal legislations. Many liberal and non-communal politicians who even voted for the CAA in parliament forewent their secular credentials due to the sheer sway that Home Minister Amit Shah and his party command. That was certainly not the case with Ladeeda and her fellow Jamia Milia Islamia compatriot Ayesha Renna. Renna expressed happiness at the fact that the rest of country joined the movement to save India’s constitution to an ecstatic and energetic crowd.
It was evident that their courage and that of the JMI students were an impetus to not just the anti-CAA/NRC/NPR gathering at Osmania University, but learning institutions all over the country.
Organizations like the Student Islamic Organization and the Dalit Bahujan Student Association made their presence felt not only with firebrand representatives who spoke before Ladeeda and Ayesha, but as audience members whose slogans roared alongside the fiery speeches. OU Dalit leader Sharad Chamar, deplored the central government’s tactics of attempted to rewrite not just India’s syncretic history but the Indian Constitution written by his community’s icon BR Ambedkar.
Former SIO President Laeeq Ahmed Khan reiterated his stand to save the idea of India by hailing not only Ambedkar but Hyderabad’s last Nizam Osman Ali Khan as well.
However, even though the city police gave clearance for the event, they didn’t let many attendees enter right away. Just a kilometer before the Arts College, the authorities were only letting people OU ID cards through. A prominent gender women’s rights advocate Sara Matthews says, “They stopped some friends and I initially. They were asking where we were from and why we have come?”
Eventually after some assertive prodding she and her friends were allowed to proceed to the site of the protest. Matthews, who attended even the Darussalaam rally which was helmed by MIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi also added “The Darussalam was more of a political affair whereas this was more about the youthful energy and angst that has sparked off a revolutionary spirit.”
Luckily, she was in time to hear the two brave girls as both ended their speeches with their popular slogan “Neel salaam, as-salaam, intifada, inquilab!”