Ensure our safety, will open parallel road: Shaheen Bagh to interlocutors

Muslim women during a protests against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR) at Shaheen Bagh. PTI
Shaheen Bagh protesters on Friday told the Supreme Court appointed interlocutors that if the road parallel to the protest site was opened, the apex court should pass an order ensuring their security. They also said that when several adjoining roads in the area are open, why have they been asked to move to another site.  

"We want in writing that if there is a single incident of attack or firing, the police officials, from the SHO to the police commissioner, should be shunted out. Home Minister Amit Shah has said the NRC is not coming soon, so ask him to issue a circular, saying they are not bringing the NRC now. We want the Supreme Court to pass an order on our security if the road adjoining the protest site is opened," a protester said. 

"When several adjoining roads are open, why are they insisting us to move from this road. This is not the only road connecting Delhi-Noida," a woman protestor told the interlocutors. The Delhi Police admitted that the protesters had not blocked the parallel road, but they had barricaded it to provide security to the protest site.

Senior advocate Sanjay Hegde and Sadhna Ramchandran met the protesting women for the third consecutive day since the Supreme Court called for moving the protest to another site. They urged them to clear the road and "make way to the hearts."

The talks have been making little to no headway as interlocutors strive to reach the common ground after protesters assured that once the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) are rolled back, they will not only vacate the road but also clean it.

Hegde said, "Today is Shivaratri. It is your right to speak, speak up. Say everything you want to say. Let's take a joint decision for all parties affected here". The interlocutors also called Delhi Police at the spot to discuss the matter with protestors.

"Supreme Court is looking into a fact in a broader sense that the Shaheen Bagh protest should be remembered as a peaceful one. I believe if we solve the issue mindfully and in a civilized manner. You continue with the right to protest but the protest should be held where it doesn't cause any problem to other people," senior advocate Sanjay Hegde had told the protesters earlier. 

"Right to protest is a fundamental right, across the countries. We have expressed our opinion and we are hopeful of a solution, if nothing is done, we will leave it to the concerned authorities," the apex court had observed. 

SC-appointed interlocutors - Sanjay Hedge and Sadhana Ramachandran - during their visit to Shaheen Bagh, New Delhi. Photo: PTI

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that let a message not go that every institution is on its knees trying to persuade Shaheen Bagh protestors on this issue. If nothing works, we will leave it to the authorities to deal with the situation, the apex court said. The Court will next hear the issue on February 24.

Restrictions have been imposed on the Kaindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch and the Okhla underpass, which were closed on December 15 last year due to the protests against CAA and Register of Citizens. 

The Shaheen Bagh area of Delhi had lately gained nationwide attention due to a continued anti-CAA sit-in by people, especially Muslim women against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register and National Register of Citizens.

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