Since 7 January, the Park Circus Maidan in central Kolkata has been the site of a sit-in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. The protest, led by the women residents of Park Circus, is inspired by a similar sit-in at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, which has been ongoing since mid December. The women are protesting the CAA, the National Register of Citizens and the brutal attacks on students in universities such as Jawaharal Nehru University, Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University.
Park Circus is a predominantly Muslim neighborhood. The protest is taking place in a ground outside the local mosque. Unlike other anti-CAA protests in Kolkata, in which students and people from upper and middle-classes have participated, the Park Circus protest largely comprises working-class individuals.
Hundreds of women, some with their children, gather every day with posters and placards. Over time, the residents of Park Circus have been joined by others from across Kolkata. For a majority of the protesting women, this is their first time participating in a protest. The protestors told me that they intend to be on an indefinite sit-in, until at least 22 January, when the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear petitions challenging the CAA. There is no single organisation visibly spearheading the protests. The participants told me that the ordinary public is leading the movement, and that the only banner they are protesting under is the Indian flag.