A young couple got married at Chennai's Washermanpet on Sunday where hundreds - inspired by Delhi's Shaheen Bagh, the epicentre of protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA - have been protesting since Friday.
The 22-year-old groom, Shaheen Shah, was seen sitting at the protest site in a maroon velvet coat with other protesters and held preamble to the constitution as the crowd raised slogans, demanding repeal of the CAA.
Draped in a red saree with golden embroidery, the 20-year-old bride, Sumiah, later joined him at the stage with a placard that read: "No CAA, NPR, NRC".
The wedding began with the Imam (priest) introducing the couple and getting signatures of the couple and witnesses. The crowd blessed the couple and praised them for their decision of getting married at the protest site.
Speaking to NDTV, the groom said: "CAA should be repealed. It would affect all of us, not just Muslims. I didn't want to leave the protest site and the wedding was fixed earlier. Had I gone to a wedding hall, only a hundred people would have seen. Now the entire world is watching. I am proud."
A protest organiser further shared: "We allowed this wedding at the protest site only because both of them actively participated in the protests and their wedding was already fixed. We are getting more such demands from others but we've not agreed."
On Saturday, state minister D Jayakumar, who represents the constituency, met representatives of protesters and assured to discuss their demands with Chief Minister EPS. The ruling AIADMK, an ally of the BJP, had backed the citizenship law, arguing that it does not affect the Indians.
Defying the ban on large gatherings in Chennai, hundreds of women and men, mostly from the Muslim community, have been protesting at Washermanpet in northern Chennai since Friday.
The protests escalated the same day when cops resorted to use of mild force to disperse. Four police personnel, including a senior woman officer, were injured in the protests.
Shaheen Shah was also injured when clashes erupted between the protesters and police, says his family.
The police action was condemned by opposition leaders. DMK chief M K Stalin said Friday's protests had been held in a peaceful manner and sought to know why the police used force to disperse them. "Lathicharge was done unnecessarily on the peaceful people for no reason and this prompted people across the state to take to the streets," he said in a statement.
Responding to the opposition leaders in the assembly, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami today appealed to the minorities to cooperate for communal harmony. "The state government will not permit any action against minorities in the state. Our government will stand as a shield to minorities," he said.
Protests have swept the country against the citizenship law, which makes religion test for citizenship for the first time in the country, since it cleared parliament two months ago. While government says it will help persecuted minorities from three Muslim majority nations, critics have called it "anti-Muslim".