‘Like you, others too have rights’: Mediators for Shaheen Bagh tell protesters
The mediators appointed by the Supreme Court reached Shaheen Bagh in south Delhi on Wednesday afternoon to talk to the protesters and convince them to hold the agitation at an alternative site.
The protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) act or CAA at the south Delhi locality is going on for more than two months, with protesters demanding the government should scrap the law.
While hearing a plea against the protest, the Supreme Court had on Monday appointed senior lawyers Sanjay Hegde and Sadhna Ramachandran to go and talk to the protesters. The court had also asked the lawyers to speak to former Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah for assisting them.
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“Supreme Court has said that you have the right to protest. The law (CAA) has been challenged in the Supreme Court. But like us, others too have their rights, like right to use roads, open their shops. Your rights must not trample on others,” Ramachandran told protesters as she initiated a dialogue.
“We want to listen to you. Together, we will find a solution which I am confident will be an example not just for India, but for the world,” she further said.
“We have come here according to the order of Supreme Court. We hope to speak to everyone. We hope to resolve the matter with everybody’s cooperation,” said Hegde as he reached Shaheen Bagh.
The Supreme Court has fixed the matter for further hearing on February 24.
The court order on appointing the interlocutors came on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Amit Sahni, which sought appropriate directions to the Centre and others for removal of protesters from Shaheen Bagh near Kalindi Kunj.
The protesters, meanwhile, contested the claim that the sit-in was causing inconvenience to a large number of commuters. “The commuters who travel to Noida regularly anyway take the parallel highway. When the parallel road to the highway is open as well as all lanes of Shaheen Bagh except this road, why the applicants want to use only this road?” said Shaheeda Sheikh, a protester.
Another protester Mehjabeen Khan said, “We are asked to move, we will move but the protests will continue.”
The stretch of Shaheen Bagh to Kalindi Kunj road, where the protest is being held, is about two to three kilometres long and has commercial centres housing shops and restaurants. The road ends at Atlanta Water Park. The Shaheen Bagh-Kalindi Kunj road is parallel to the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway which is used by a large number of commuters between Delhi and Noida.
The petition sought appropriate direction to the respondents, including the Union of India for laying down detailed, comprehensive and exhaustive guidelines relating to outright restrictions for holding protest/agitation leading to obstruction of the public place.