Reading, knitting keep anti-CAA protesters busy in UP

NEW DELHI: Anti-CAA protesters are now finding new ways to keep themselves busy during the protest hours.

The protesters at Mansoor Ali Park in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj have started a makeshift library, with generous donations from local people, to enable the women read books and newspapers.

Started on the initiative of a students’ group called ” Disha”, the library is growing by the day.

“We have people from all walks of life coming forward with books. There are some who bring newspapers for the protesters to read. The women at the protest site are developing reading habits and actually spend their time reading books,” said Shiva, a Disha member.

The library, interestingly, is named after Fatima Sheikh and Savitri Bai Phule, who started a movement to educate poor women and dedicated their whole life to the cause in spite of opposition.

The volunteers at the makeshift library maintain a register and any person interested in reading a book has to enter his name, address and mobile number before borrowing the book.

The books include those on history, politics, general awareness, on freedom movement and freedom fighters. Besides, there are articles of many scholars giving information on Citizenship Amendment Act, NRC and NPR, children”s magazine and poetry.

Moreover, some recent books, which alert people of divisive politics, are also available. Newspapers in Hindi, English and Urdu are also available.

Dr R.K Mathur, a retired government doctor, said that after reading the newspaper at home, he brings it to the library.

“The newspaper gets sold as scarp after one has read it. I bring it here so that more people can read it,” he said.

In Lucknow at the Clock Tower protest site, women have now started bringing embroidery, knitting and crochet work to the protest site.

Almas, a homemaker, can be seen furiously knitting a baby”s sweater.

“My sister-in-law’s baby is due in October and I thought I can utilize this time to make some woolen clothes for the baby when he or she arrives,” she said.

Her daughter, who joins her in the evening, paints card at the site.

Some women at the Ujariyagaon protest site in Lucknow have started shelling peas at the protest site.

Shyamala, who comes with five to six kilograms of peas every day, said, “My husband sells vegetables and has started selling shelled peas now. I sit here and shell the peas. The other women also help me.”

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