“Concerned citizens of Seelampur, Jafrabad and Trans-Yamuna” have accused Pinjra Tod, a far-left women rights initiative, and other ‘elite civil society’ groups of inciting riots at the national capital. The appeal was conveyed through a Facebook post published by anti-CAA ‘activist’ and Editor of blogs ‘Muslims of India’ Ovais Sultan Khan.
The post published on the social media platform at midnight on Sunday, the 23rd of February. It said that it was ‘very very irresponsible behaviour’ and the appeal was made on late Saturday night, the day the anti-CAA protesters blocked road No. 66, which connects Seelampur to Maujpur and Yamuna Vihar.
The appeal said, “Because of fantasies of elite civil society and group such as Pinjra Tod, we the locals of Seelampur and trans-Yamuna are in great trouble. All localities are worried. There is panic everywhere. They repeatedly incited violence and today they blocked Jafrabad main road.”
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The appeal also said that when some local women protesters disagreed with the plans to block the road, the Pinjra Tod activists said, “Kafan bandh ke aaye hain, jo humare sath nahi wo desh ka Gaddar hai (We have come wearing our shroud, those who are not with us, they are traitors to their country).” It also said that Pinjra Tod activists fought with the Police in Delhi Gate Daryaganj but none of them were arrested as they ran away. “For their adventures, we suffer badly,” Khan said.
The appeal said further, “Pinjra Tod made several attempts in the past to do the same in trans Yamuna protest sites which we stopped in the past. And said categorically that our protests will remain nonviolent.” Another individual on Facebook, Ayesha Mualla, agreed with the assertions made in the appeal.
Sharing Khan’s post, Mualla said, “This is irresponsible. No one is doubting the agency of the women protestors blocking Seelampur- Jaffrabad main road. But actions such as these, being led by students groups will only hurt the local community, as is evident in the post below.” “We must join the women protesting, stand in solidarity. But it is important to express our discomfort here, please remember this may only and only harm the already vulnerable. not you and not me,” she added.
The appeal was also shared by Tamanna Pankaj, who works at Indian Civil Liberties Union and United Against Hate, which has been running an anti-CAA campaign of its own. In her Facebook post sharing the appeal, Tamanna claimed that the roadblock was initiated by Pinjra Tod.
The allegations against Pinjra Tod were also made by an individual on Facebook who claims to have graduated from Jamia Milia Islamia University. He said on the 24th of February, “It would be naive to blame Chandrashekhar for the losses Muslim neighbourhoods suffered yesterday and today. In my assessment, Pinjra Tod would be the real culprit behind untimely provocations of unwise blockades that brought this violent turn of events in Seelampur before spreading to other sites.”
The news editor at the Congress mouthpiece National Herald, Ashlin Mathew, also said that she has been hearing that Pinjra Tod activists ‘goaded’ the women at Jaffrabad to block the road. She also said that the women themselves say it was a collective decision. Furthermore, she said that Pinjra Tod activists were present when violence broke out at Daryaganj in December.
Pinjra Tod claims to be an “autonomous collective of women students fighting for a just, accessible, non discriminatory University and affordable accommodation” and has been involved in numerous protests and campaigns of a far-left nature.
Massive riots erupted in Delhi on Monday and continued on Tuesday. The death toll has reached 20, countless more have been injured and the damage to property has been enormous. An Intelligence Bureau Constable has died in the riots along with a Head Constable of the Delhi Police.