New Delhi: The Supreme Court-appointed interlocutors Sanjay Hedge and Sadhana Ramachandran on Friday met and interacted with the protesters at Shaheen Bagh for the third day and urged them to clear out the road that has been blocked for nearly two months. Also Read - 200 Units of Free Electricity, No CAA: Here’s What Congress Promises if Voted to Power in Assam
Addressing the gathering at Shaheen Bagh that has been an epicentre for demonstrations against the Centre’s contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Hedge said that no one has the right to deny citizens their right to protest, but the roads should be opened. Also Read - Right To Protest Cannot Be Anytime And Everywhere, Says Supreme Court
Challenging the mediators’ demand, one of the women protesters asked that when several other adjoining roads in the area were open, what is the need for them to move to another site. The protesters also noted that while they had blocked one of the roads for their security, they were still letting ambulances and emergency vehicles pass through. On the other hand, a protestor said that one road had been closed by the policemen who claimed to “have orders from above”. Also Read - Shaheen Bagh Shooter Kapil Gujjar Expelled From BJP Hours After Joining
Delhi Police and UP Police can withdraw those blockades without making any difference to the ongoing protest, which will mitigate the traffic bottleneck, they said.
Notably, a part of Mahamaya flyover around the Shaheen Bagh area was even opened for a brief period of time earlier today to decongest the traffic. Protesters said that like this there are many other road blockades which have nothing to do with the Citizenship Law protest.
Protesters furthered that once the Citizenship law and nationwide NRC are rolled back, they “will immediately vacate the road”.
After hearing them, Hedge said, “It is the duty of every brother to ensure the safety and security of all women. I want to say that ‘Chhodo kal ki baatein, kal ki baat purani, Hum Hindustani (Let us forget the past and move forward, we are all Indians)’.” He told the protesters to open not just the road, but “we need to open dil ka raasta (way to the heart)”.
The top court’s mediators also had a minor scuffle with the protesters over their terms and conditions to initiate a dialogue with the women sitting on dharna. While interlocutor Ramachandran had suggested that talks should be held in groups of 20, protesters said that such a condition was not acceptable.
“There would be distrust among the rest who did not meet them in that particular group. Whatever they have to say, they should say it before all of us,” stated a woman protestor Mehrunisa, holding a stick in hand.
In last evening’s dialogue between the demonstrators and mediators, Ramachandran asserted that if the situation does not get resolved, then it will again go back to the Supreme Court. She also added that every problem can be solved and there is nothing that cannot be solved. Meanwhile, Hegde said they have been protesting at Shaheen Bagh for the past two months but all in the country need to stay and grow together, and should not cause inconvenience to others.
The Supreme Court has fixed the Shaheen Bagh deadlock for further hearing on February 24.