Delhi police remove barricades as the road from Jamia to Noida, shut due to Shaheen Bagh protests, reopened briefly, in New Delhi, India, on Saturday, February 22, 2020.(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
Delhi police remove barricades as the road from Jamia to Noida, shut due to Shaheen Bagh protests, reopened briefly, in New Delhi, India, on Saturday, February 22, 2020.(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)

In affidavit in SC, Shaheen Bagh interlocutor blames police for barricades

Road 13A, which connects Delhi with Noida, has been blocked for the last 68 days by the agitators, led by elderly women, protesting the citizenship act.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON FEB 23, 2020 02:35 PM IST

Wajahat Habibullah, one of the interlocutors appointed by the Supreme Court to hold talks with protesters at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, has filed an affidavit on the issue of road blockage, news agency ANI reported on Sunday.

According to Asian News International, Wajahat Habibullah has said in his affidavit the protest in Shaheen Bagh against the Citizenship Amendment Act is peaceful.

The former bureaucrat, who is one of three mediators appointed by the top court, also stated the police have blocked five points around Shaheen Bagh, ANI reported.

Road 13A, which connects Delhi with Noida, has been blocked for the last 68 days by the agitators, led by elderly women, protesting the citizenship act.

The blockade has led to massive traffic jams in and around Ashram and parts of south Delhi, with other Noida-Delhi connections, such as the Nizamuddin bridge, also being hit severely.

The Supreme Court had appointed senior lawyers Sanjay Hegde, Sadhna Ramachandran and former chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah as interlocutors on February 17 and asked them to talk to protesters at Shaheen Bagh and convince them to hold the agitation at an alternative site.

They have, so far, held four round of talks with the Shaheen Bagh protesters on their blockade of the road since February 19.

On Saturday, the protesters in Shaheen Bagh presented the interlocutors with a set of fresh demands, saying they want the top court to guarantee their safety before one carriageway on Road 13A is opened up.

They also asked that the police withdraw cases filed against residents of Jamia Nagar for protests against the citizenship act on December 15 last year.

Sadhana Ramachandran and Sanjay Hegde are likely to submit their report to the Supreme Court on Monday, when the court will resume its hearing on the matter.

The top court had called for a “balance” last Monday and said that while people had the right to protest in a democracy, they should not be blocking roads, otherwise it would lead to chaos.

The protests at Shaheen Bagh, which began on December 15, have blocked one of the main connections between Delhi and satellite city Noida, causing problems for thousands of commuters.

They are protesting a law that fast-tracks Indian citizenship for persecuted non-Muslim minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Protesters allege the law is discriminatory to Muslims and fear it will be used along with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to take away citizenship from some members of the minority community.

The government has, however, said such perceptions of the law were untrue and result of a motivated campaign. It has also said CAA will not be repealed and ruled any nationwide NRC in the near future.

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