CAA/NRC protests. A sense of how deep they spread.

Early in January 2020, as protests against NRC/CAA began spreading across India, I began scouring twitter trying to gauge how anger was spreading across India. Which cities, towns, districts and mohallas were seeing protests? The exercise was slapdash but heady — that was, after all, a lovely moment in India’s otherwise depressing recent history. Nothing less than a full-throated defence of the Constitution from streets and neighbourhoods across India. As I wrote in Despite the State, “(This) uprising fell like rain on India’s parched democracy.”

These aggregations, gathered roughly once a week by searching twitter for “<state/city name> + #CAA protest (or suchlike combinations)” were posted as threads on twitter. This went on for a couple of months, and then all were lost when I did one of my bulk tweet deletions — I hate twitter and the person it remoulds me into, and so these periodic purges. A couple of days ago, however, I stumbled upon two doc files in which I had collated some of the initial threads, spanning the days between 7 January and 4 February, 2020. And so, here we are again.

7 January, 2020. Tuesday.
1. Kochi:
2. Kochi:
3. Mumbai:
4. Mumbai:
5. Kalyan:
6. Nagpur:
7. Jaipur:
8. Chennai: and There were five other protests in the city on the 6th and 7th.
9. Bangalore:
10. Thiruvananthapuram: on fifth, (and I cannot find photos of this one:
11. Jadavpur Uni: and
12. Madurai:
13. Pondicherry:
14. Tirupur:
15. Kalaburgi:
16. Bangalore:
17. Bangalore:
18. Bangalore:
19. Hyderabad:,
20. Osmania, hyd:
21. Kadapa:
22. Bhubaneswar:
23. Bhubaneswar:
24. Bhubaneswar:
25. Cuttack:
26. Rourkela:
27. Bilaspur:
28. Raipur:
29. Patna:
30. Ranchi:,, and
31. Jorhat:
32. Guwahati:
33. Guwahati:
34. Bhopal:
35. Jamshedpur:
36. Palamu:
37. Ahmedabad:
38. Ahmedabad: and
39. Jhunjhunu:
40. Panaji:
41. Muzaffarpur:
42. Siwan:
43. Shantiniketan:
44. Kolkata: and The city saw seven marches on the sixth, says this tweet.
45. Guwahati: and
46. Aligarh: and
47. Pune:
48. Ghatkopar, mumbai.
49. Pune, FTII:
50. Mumbai:
51. Meerut:
52. Malappuram:
53. Delhi:
54. Chandigarh:
55. Malegaon.

17 January, 2020. Friday.
1. Calicut.
2. Mangalore.
3. Kalaburagi.
4. Hyderabad.
5. Pune.
6. Indore.
7. Kishanganj.
8. Siwan.
9. Gaya. and
10. Darbhanga.
11. Madhubani.
12. Bettiah.
13. Araria. and
14. Sheikhpura.
15. Bara, Gaya. and
16. Bengal.
17. Kolkata.
18. Kolkata.
19. Allahabad.
20. Ahmedabad.
21. Ahmedabad.
22. Delhi. and
23. Begusarai.
24. Kozhikode.
25. Hubbali.
26. Delhi, Seelampur.
27. Assam.
28. Darjeeling (old but see).
29. Tripura (old again but see).
30. Indore.
31. Mumbai.
32. Delhi.
33. Bhopal.
34. Shaheen Bagh.
35. Indore. Another sit-in.
36. Bagodar.
37. Meghalaya. A PIL from here.
38. Katihar.
Chennai. This happens.
39. IIT Bombay.
40. Ahmedabad.
41. Shimoga.
42. Malappuram.
43. Malmal.
44. Akola.

22 January, 2020. Wednesday.
Right. So #CAA is listed before the Supreme Court tomorrow. And so, another thread. To see what the mood was like across the country the last 24 hours.
1. Bihar. Gaya.
2. Bihar. Gopalganj/Siwan.
3. Bihar. Kishanganj.
4. Bihar. Nawada:
5. Bihar. Patna: Sabzibagh. Also, from Mustafabad.
6. Delhi: Chand Bagh. and
7. Delhi: Inderlok.
8. Delhi: Jafrabad, Seelampur.
9. Delhi: Kardampuri.
10. Delhi: Khureji Khas.
11. Delhi: Shaheen Bagh.
12. Delhi: Turkman Gate.
13. Guj. Ahmedabad. Rakhiyal:
14. Jharkhand. Ranchi.
15. Mah. Aurungabad.
16. Mah. Mumbra:
17. Mah. Nanded:
18. Mah. Parbhani.
19. Mah. Pune: Kondhwa.
20. MP. Indore.
21. UP. Allahabad. Roshan Bagh:
22. UP. AMU:
23. UP. Lucknow: ghanta ghar. and Also, this.
24. UP. Lucknow:
25. WB. Kolkata, park circus.
26. WB. Dinajpur.
27. Malmal.
28. Assam. Guwahati.
29. Arunachal.
30. AP. Hyd:
31. AP. Kurnool:
32. Bihar. Dhanbad. (slightly old)
33. Bihar.
34. Bihar. Akbarpur/Nawada.
35. Bihar. Gaya.
36. Bihar. Patna.
37. Bihar. Bhagalpur.
38. Bihar. Purnia.
39. Chhattisgarh. Raipur.
40. Delhi:
41. Delhi. Hindu College.
42. Goa. Ponda. (slightly old)
43. Karnataka. Bangalore: Shivajinagar. and
44. Karnataka. Bangalore.
45. Karnataka. Gulbarga.
46. Kerala. Kaladi.
47. Kerala. Calicut.
48. Mah. Ahmednagar:
49. Mah. Mumbai:
50. Mah. Mumbai:
51. Mah. Solapur.
52. Mah. Sillod:
53. Nagaland.
54. Nagaland. Dimapur.
55. Odisha. Cuttack.
56. Punjab. Amritsar:
57. Punjab. Yamunanagar.
58. Rajasthan: Sikar:
59. Telangana. and
60. Tripura.
61. TN. Chennai.
62. TN. Chennai.
63. UP. Azamgarh:
64. UP. Varanasi:
65. WB. Kolkata.

28 January, 2020. Tuesday
Did another scan of #caa_nrc_protests across India.
A week had passed since the previous one (link to that thread at the end). And so, here, the mood of the nation between 27/28 Jan. India has seen large mobilisations on 26th. And larger ones are planned for 30th as well. And so, how have we fared on relatively humdrum 26/27 Jan?
At this time, India has over 50 Sit-In protests like the one at Shaheen Bagh. Plus a bunch of meetings/conferences about Caa/NRC/NPR. I have not found visuals for most of these. And so, I mostly focus on marches/processions.
1. Assam. Tinsukhia:
2. Bihar. Amer:
3. Bihar. Gaya:
4. Bihar. Katihar:
5. Bihar. Patna:
6. Chhattisgarh. Raipur:
7. Delhi: LNJP Colony:
8. Delhi: Shaheen Bagh: and
9. Delhi:Khureji:
10. Delhi:Nizamuddin: Also, Delhi. Nizamuddin: and
11. Delhi:Turkman Gate:
12. Goa. Panjim:
13. Kerala.
14. Ktaka. Bangalore:
15. Ktaka. Bidar: Also see this snap:
16. Ktaka. Hubli:
17. Ktaka. Raichur:
I wonder too if #caa_nrc_protests are on the cusp of another discontinuity. We started with marches and then Sit-In protests suddenly snowballed. In the last two days, I see the start of dalit/tribal protests.
18. Tribals: MP. Jhanda Chowk:
19. MP. Barwani:
20. Dalits: A case in point:
Another case in point, from two days ago:
21. Dalits: Ktaka. Bangalore: A third large demographic, that of migrant workers, is starting to experience #caa-induced vulnerability as well. You saw these two links? and
And now, back to our count.
22. Mah. Amravati:
23. Mah. Govandi:
24. Mah. Mumbai: and
25. Mah. Mumbai:
26. Mah. Mumbai:
27. Mah. Mumbai: Madanpura:
28. Mah. Mumbra:
29. MP. Burhanpur:
30. MP. Rewa:
31. Rajasthan. Jaipur:
32. Tamil Nadu. Avadi:
33. Tamil Nadu. Chennai:
34. Tamil Nadu.Tirupur:
35. Telangana. Hyderabad:
36. Telangana. Hyderabad:
37. UP. Deoband:
38. UP. Lucknow:
39. UP. Nawada:
40. Utt. Dehradun: (This is new. I have not seen many protests in Himachal and Uttarakhand till now)
41. WB: Kolkata:
42. WB: Kolkata:

For comparision. Threads on previous scans.
7 Jan: (64 protests)
17 Jan: (56)
21 Jan: (74)
28 Jan, in contrast, stands at 16 states, 44 locations per this provisional count – but I missed about 40 Sit-Ins. Plus the start of tribal and dalit protests. Please let me know about others I have missed. I will add. (Update: Uh, these are the threads that got deleted).

5 February, 2020.
To start with, see this tweet by @bhanupriya_rao: “So, @thoughtisdead and I are curating and mapping women led #NRC_CAA_NPR protests in India. In 50 days, we mapped 30 protests. Sit-Ins are increasing everyday. They are spreading to small towns like Tonk, Sambhal, Hingoli, Vaniyambadi.
1. Andaman: Old but still… (there have been protests earlier in Lakshadweep)
2. Assam:
3. Guwahati:
4. Bengal. Nadia:
5. Malda:
6. Utt: Dehradun:
Bihar continues to be one of the best reported places for #caa_nrc_protests.
7-15. Nine places in Darbhanga alone. Nari Gaura Boram, Qilaghat and Lalbagh in Darbhanga town, Pali Ghanshyampur, Naptolia in Benipur, Lawam, Ali Nagar, Shivdhara, Deorabandhauli in Jale block. Also see:
16. Ara:
17. Supaul:
18. Bettiah:
19. Motihari: (and this too happened,
20. Sitamarhi:
21. Patna: Sabzibagh:
22. Patna: Gandhi Maidan:
23. Shantibagh:
24. Nawada:
25. Sasaram:
26. Bihar Sharif:
27. Katihar:
28. Muzaffarpur:
29. Samastipur:
30. Patna:
31. Siwan:
32. Azamnagar:
33. Aurungabad:
34. Chhattisgarh: Risali: Also, from Raipur, a day old but still…
35. Rajasthan: Tonk:
36. Delhi. Khureji/Shastri Park:
(Not quite a protest but still.
37. Hauz Rani:
38. Jamia:, (and the counterprotest: And this brave woman who called them out.
39. Shaheen Bagh: and
40. Mustafabad:
41. Nizamuddin:
42-43. Gujarat: Two in Ahmedabad:
44. Modasa:
45. Patan:
46. Haryana: Mewat:
47. Jharkhand. Kadru.
48. Kerala:
49. Kannur:
50. Trivandrum:
51. Ktaka. Blore. Shivajinagar:
52. Townhall:
53. Mangalore:
54. Bidar:
55. Yadgir:
56. Bangalore:
57. Mah: Pune:
58. Mumbai:
59. Mumbai Bagh: (and
60. Malegaon:
61. Kalyan:
62. MP: Jabalpur:
63. Indore:
64. Bina, Sagar:
65. Punjab: Jalandhar:
66. TN: Vaniyambadi:
67. Signature campaign by DMK:
68. Coimbatore:
69. Madurai: (And this happened too if you want to make a quick crore. Namakkal:
70. Pondicherry:
71. Telangana. Kareemnagar: Also see:
72. Hyderabad:
73. Shivarampally:
74. UP. AMU:
75. Muradabad:
76. Deoband:
77. Lucknow:


PS: That was in 2020. And we all know what happened to these protests in the end. Delhi riots, state crackdowns and Covid. In 2021, I did another similar collation of snowballing events. Again as a hedge against forgetting what it was like to live through a tiny epoch — the second wave of Covid. See that here.

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I am an Indian journalist with interests in energy, environment, climate and India’s ongoing slide into right-wing authoritarianism. My book, Despite the State, an examination of pervasive state failure and democratic decay in India, was published by Westland Publications, India, in January 2021. My work has won the Bala Kailasam Memorial Award; the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Award; and five Shriram Awards for Excellence in Financial Journalism. Write to me at


…une plongée dans les failles béantes de la démocratie indienne, un compte rendu implacable du dysfonctionnement des Etats fédérés, minés par la corruption, le clientélisme, le culte de la personnalité des élus et le capitalisme de connivence. (…a dive into the gaping holes in Indian democracy, a relentless account of the dysfunction of the federated states, undermined by corruption, clientelism, the cult of the personality of elected officials and crony capitalism).” Le Monde

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M. Rajshekhar’s deeply researched book… holds a mirror to Indian democracy, and finds several cracks.The Hindu

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What emerges is the image of a state that is extractive, dominant, casteist and clientelist.Tribune

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Book lists

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What has South Asia been reading: 2021 edition“, Himal Southasian


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Democratic decay at state level: Journalist M Rajshekhar on book ‘Despite the State’,” The News Minute.

Covid-19 en Inde : “des décès de masse” dont un “État obscurantiste est responsable,” Asialyst.


JP to BJP: The Unanswered Questions“.
Mahtab Alam’s review of “JP to BJP: Bihar After Lalu and Nitish”.

Urban History of Atmospheric Modernity in Colonial India“. Mohammad Sajjad’s review of “Dust and Smoke: Air Pollution and Colonial Urbanism, India, c1860-c1940”.

Westland closure: Titles that are selling fast and a few personal recommendations,” by Chetana Divya Vasudev, Moneycontrol. (Because this happened too. In February, a year after DtS was released, Amazon decided to shutter Westland, which published the book. The announcement saw folks rushing to buy copies of Westland books before stocks run out.)

Time to change tack on counterinsurgency” by TK Arun, The Federal.

All Things Policy: The Challenges of Governing States” by Suman Joshi and Sarthak Pradhan, Takshashila Institute (podcast).

The Future of Entertainment“, Kaveree Bamzai in Open.

On What India’s Watching“, Prathyush Parasuraman on Substack.

The puppeteers around us“, Karthik Venkatesh in Deccan Herald.

Will TN election manifestos continue ‘populist’ welfare schemes?“, Anna Isaac for The News Minute.

Why wages-for-housework won’t help women“, V Geetha in Indian Express.

The poor state of the Indian state“, Arun Maira in The Hindu.

Book discussions

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26 December, 2021: Rangashankara, Bangalore, a discussion with Dhanya Rajendran.

16 November: Rachna Books, Gangtok, a discussion with Pema Wangchuk.

29 August: Books In The Time of Chaos, with Ujwal Kumar.

21 May: Hyderabad Lit Fest with Kaveree Bamzai and Aniruddha Bahal.

28 March: Paalam Books, Salem, Tamil Nadu.

19 March: The News Minute, “Citizens, the State, and the idea of India

6 March: Pen@Prithvi, with Suhit Kelkar

20 February: A discussion between scholars Usha Ramanathan, Tridip Suhrud, MS Sriram and me to formally launch Despite the State.

6 February: DogEars Bookshop, Margoa.

5 February: The Polis Project, Dispatches with Suchitra Vijayan.

30 January: Founding Fuel, “Systems Thinking, State Capacity and Grassroots Development“.

25 January: Miranda House Literary Society