Top Shi,ite cleric Dr. Kalbe Sadiq Condemns CAA. Blesses the Unafraid Women protesters in Lucknow

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By Dr. Shirin Abbas, Edited By Adam Rizvi, TIO: The anti CAA protests ongoing for the last eight days at the Husainabad clock Tower in old Lucknow, received a big shot in the arm on Friday afternoon when they were joined by senior Shia cleric and Vice President of the Muslim Personal Law Board, Dr. Kalbe Sadiq who arrived in an ambulance in a wheelchair from the private hospital where he has been confined for months due to his critical condition. Suddenly the sea of ant-CAA placards all were held aloft among fluttering Indian tri-colors as most unexpectedly Dr. Kalbe Sadiq appeared at the site.

Dr. Kalbey Sadiq sitting on a wheelchair addresses the protesters of Anti CAA, NRC, NPR at Clock Tower in Lucknow, UP India

This gesture by the ailing octogenarian Shia leader has served to bolster the movement and provide a shot in the arm to all the women sitting day and night on protest at the dharna site. No one had expected that after issuing a statement in support of the movement from his hospital room, where he has been confined over the last three years, critically ill, he would personally visit the protest site to bless the agitating women and address them. Something most Muslim clerics have declined to do in the month since the agitation has taken the country by storm.

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Shri Rajnath Singh Visits ailing Dr Kalbey Sadiq along with other Sr. Politician ( File Photo)

Speaking in his weakened but firm voice, Dr. Sadiq lauded the spirit and fortitude of the women who have taken the reigns of the protest in their hands and are leading the movement. He also commended the men for taking care of the household and supporting the movement. “never before have I seen such strength of conviction and such determination in women –and I congratulate all those supporting this movement, whichever community they belong to—Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Dalit or any other, for upholding the secular traditions of this country and showing their unstinting faith in the Constitution of India,” he said. “it takes strength—of belief, character, and conviction to be sitting in this bitter winter through day and night, unafraid and determined to peacefully protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act. In a statement released from his hospital bed a day earlier, Dr. Sadiq had said he was pained to know that a number of religious leaders were skirting any comments on the movement and said, “You leave the clerics to me, I will handle them. I am proud of the women out there and I applaud their struggle. They have my blessings and I am sure their struggle will bear fruit.”

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Dr. Kalbey Sadiq Shia Cleric speaks to the protesters in Lucknow gathered against CAA, NRC, NPR at Hussainabad Clock Tower, Lucknow

The thousands of women gathered at the Husainabad Clock Tower broke into spontaneous applause at the sight of Dr. Kalbe Sadiq and were visibly moved to tears as he addressed them in his wheelchair. 

Dr. Sadiq holds a massive influence on the people of different race and ethnicity and on public opinion, he prefers and usually keeps away from politics, he understood that this is the time of crises and community needs him and he must speak out and support the public.

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Indian Government security forces have shot dead scores of demonstrators protesting against the government’s failure to satisfy their demands and remove CAA, NRC, NPR. The country’s political system should be working towards halting corruption and put an end to deep-rooted RSS influence over state institutions. Security forces should be trained in how to deal with peaceful demonstrators instead of using harsh brutality on women and children and elders who are peacefully protesting.

Dr. Sadiq’s statement, just a day after the Home Minister Amit Shah’s Lucknow rally in which he reiterated that the government would not move back even an inch on the bill and was hell-bent upon implementing the same, has provided the much-needed support to the movement which has taken India by storm on various grounds, first and foremost for violating the secular traditions of the country and its Constitution.

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The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has also been threatening action against the protestors and while moves are already on to identify and “punish” protestors for the arson and damage to public property during the agitations against the CAA which have been ongoing since early December and came to a faceoff on December 19 in Lucknow, leading to arrest of hundreds of people. He has also threatened to clamp NSA and charge with sedition protestors chanting for “azaadi” (freedom) from Draconian laws and governance.

Anti CAA, Protesters in Lucknow at Hussainabad Clock Tower

What has also grievously hurt the women is the statement of Shia Waqf Board chairman Waseem Rizvi who had alleged that politically provoked Sunni women had illegally taken over the site at the Husainabad clock tower. The site has been specifically chosen as the place of protest so as not to give it any religious color.

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 In a statement Waseem Rizvi has said as Chairman of the Shia Waqf Board he has written a letter to the District Magistrate to have the spot cleared as “protestors were raising anti-national slogans and chants again Hon’ble prime minister Mr. Modi and Home Minister Mr. Amit Shah.” In a debate on a private news channel, Rizvi has used derogatory terms against the women protestors, which have sent waves of anger through the women protestors and their families, belonging to all religions and sects, sitting on peaceful protest.  

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Women Protesters at Lucknow Hussainabad Clock Tower

The Husainabad Clock Tower is an iconic landmark of Lucknow sans any religious significance, located in the Old City within a stone’s throw of the dominant Shia and Sunni mosques—the Tiley Wali masjid and the Asafi mosque and Jama Masjid. For the protestors it also symbolizes the ticking hands of time, that are, many say, heralding the countdown of this discriminatory law that is unpalatable to crores of Indians who still repose unshakeable faith in the secular democratic spirit of the Indian Constitution.

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 Samajwadi leader Pooja Shukla, son of Dr. Kalbe Sadiq and several others have been arrested by the police as it swooped down on protestors at Husainabad clock tower. A large police team along with Rapid Action Force personnel have been deployed at the site.

Shirin Abbas

Dr. Shirin Abbas is the Bureau Chief "TheIndiaObserver.Com". She is a world-renowned journalist, winner of several national and international awards for her contribution to Media Research.The first recipient of the prestigious British Chevening Scholarship for Print Journalism in 1999 from her state of Uttar Pradesh. Under the same, she studied at the School of Media, Communication, and Design at the University Of Westminster, London and interned with The Irish Times, Dublin. She has been a journalist for over three decades, working at several national English dailies in North India. She completed her PhD. in Mass Communication in 2016.

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