SC orders will be used as a pretext to justify police force on Shaheen Bagh protesters, Chandra Shekhar Aazad to SCUpdated: Feb 13, 2020 00:03 IST
New Delhi: Any order which the Supreme Court passes in the Shaheen Bagh road blockade case will be used as an excuse to justify police force on protesters, Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Aazad told the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
Aazad alleged that the intention of the petitioners in the case is to enable the authorities to use the orders of the Supreme Court to justify police force on women who are protesting at Shaheen Bagh.
“The applicants/ intervenors submit that the intention of the petitioners is to inter-alia enable the administration to use the orders of this Hon’ble Court to justify police force and excesses on women who are protesting peacefully at Shaheen Bagh,” the application filed by Aazad seeking intervention in the case said.
The application was filed by Aazad praying that he be made party to the case filed by advocate Amit Sahni and BJP leader Nand Kishore Garg, seeking lifting of the road blockade on the Shaheen Bagh – Kalindi Kunj stretch.
Sahni, in his petition, had stated that the road closure at Shaheen Bagh causes great inconvenience to public at large. Sahni had argued that the road closure and the consequent traffic diversion have led to the wastage of precious time energy and fuel besides overburdening the Delhi-Noida Direct flyover, Akshardham and Ashram routes.
The Kalindi Kunj road, Sahni said, is a vital route since it connects three states - Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana — and the road closure has led to huge difficulties not only for the residents of the area but lakh of commuters who are not able to use the road due to the blockade.
Sahni had stated that while people have the right to protest, the same is subject to reasonable restrictions and protesters cannot be allowed to occupy public roads indefinitely.
When the petition was heard on February 10, the Supreme Court had noted Sahni’s concerns and remarked that protestors cannot block the road indefinitely and protests and demonstrations should happen in designated areas.
As a result of the blockade, commuters are forced to use the Delhi-Noida Direct flyover, the plea claimed.
“You cannot block public road indefinitely. If everybody starts protesting everywhere, then what will happen”, justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul had remarked.
The application filed by Aazad listed two alternate routes allegedly blocked by the authorities to deliberately create traffic jams. The first is the Kalindi Kunj-Mithapur road which he claimed has been blocked by Uttar Pradesh police by placing barricades around the Kalindi Kunj bridge. The second is the Khadar Kalindi Kunj road blocked near the Kalindi Kunj metro station by Delhi police.
The application also pointed out that Shaheen Bagh protests are peaceful in nature and has been replicated in most major cities and states in India.
Former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah and Shaheen Bagh resident Bahadur Abbas Naqvi are also parties to the application along with Aazad.
The case in Supreme Court is slated to be heard next on February 17.
The protestors at Shaheen Bagh are opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which was passed on December 12, 2019. The CAA amends Section 2 of the Citizenship Act, 1955, which defines “illegal migrants” by adding a proviso to Section 2 (1)(b). As per this new proviso, any person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, and who have been exempted by the Central Government under the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 or the Foreigners Act, 1946, shall not be treated as “illegal migrant”. Consequently, such persons shall be eligible to apply for citizenship by naturalisation, which is laid down under Section 6 of the 1955 act.
However, the Muslim community did not find a place in the proviso thereby excluding Muslim illegal migrants from availing the opportunity to apply for Indian citizenship, a benefit which was extended to illegal migrants from the other six communities by this amendment.
The exclusion of Muslim community has led to widespread protests across the country, as has the linking of citizenship with religion. There have also been protests against a proposed all-India National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the potential problems in the two working in combination.
Shaheen Bagh has been the epicentre of such protests in the national capital.