Delhi Police Trying to Break Shaheen Bagh Protest Through ‘Persuasion’

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Thousands of young women and housewives have been protesting for days at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh. — Photo: Caravan Daily/Abdul Bari Masoud

Delhi High Court ordered the police to clear the road while keeping in mind the “maintenance of law and order”.

Caravan News

NEW DELHI — Shaheen Bagh area in Okhla has got global recognition due to ongoing protests against Citizenship Act, NRC and NPR for a month now.

Hundreds of women along with children camped on the road have now become not only the face of the countrywide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, but also inspired the women of many other cities to organise such protests.

On Tuesday, the Delhi police started the process of clearing that stretch of the city following orders from the Delhi High Court on a petition citing huge traffic problems on a vital connecting road.

The police have been directed to use “persuasion” rather than force to open the Shaheen Bagh-Kalindi Kunj road, according to officials.

The High Court ordered the police to clear the road while keeping in mind the “maintenance of law and order”.

“It ought to be kept in mind that whenever any agitation or protest is going on, situation is like fluid – keep on changing looking to the temperament of the protesters and resistances by other people. Simultaneously, police has to maintain the law and order. Hence, the respondents have all power, jurisdiction and authority to control the traffic, wherever protests or agitations are going on, in the larger public interest. In such a situation, no specific writ, order or direction can be issued by this Court as to handle the agitation or protest or the place of protest and the traffic. It all depends upon the ground reality and the wisdom of the police, where situations may keep changing every 10 minutes,” read the Delhi High Court order.

The police are in touch with religious leaders and have urged them to persuade protesters to clear the way, the official said.

A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar asked the police to look into the issue while also keeping in mind the “larger public interests”.

“We hereby direct the concerned respondent authorities to look into the grievances ventilated by the petitioner in the writ petition about the restrictions of the usage of the road which is known as Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh Stretch i.e Road No. 13 A (between Mathura Road and Kalindi Kunj) as well as Okhla underpass and will react, in according with laws, rules, regulations and government policies applicable to the facts of the present case,” the court order read.

Shaheen Bagh is near Kalindi Kunj, which connects Delhi to its neighbouring areas like Faridabad and Noida. For weeks, people have been forced to take a different route to bypass the massive protest. This has also caused jams on the Delhi-Noida-Delhi expressway, inconveniencing people who travel to south Delhi from Noida.

The Shaheen Bagh protest, which gained wide attention even from the foreign media, had started after a police crackdown on the students of Jamia Millia Islamia university during a protest against the citizenship law. Several students were injured in the police action.

(With media inputs)

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