Report submitted, SC to hear Shaheen Bagh matter on Wednesday
On Monday, the interlocutors appointed by the Supreme Court to talk to the protesters of Shaheen Bagh submitted their report in a sealed cover and the top court deferred the hearing to Wednesday, February 26. This month, the bench of Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph noted that while protesting is essential for democracy, causing inconvenience to others by blocking roads isn't ideal.
Women sat on streets demanding that CAA is scrapped
For over two months now, an important stretch of South Delhi has been blocked courtesy the round-the-clock agitation against the Citizenship Amendment Act. The protest, which started in mid-December, is led by women who want the law to be scrapped. Since it caused traffic woes, two petitioners approached SC seeking directions to vacate the spot. The proceedings happened after the Delhi Assembly elections.
SC put the onus on mediators to convince the protesters
The best solution SC came up with was to shift the protesters to another site. It gave senior lawyers Sanjay Hegde and Sadhana Ramachandran the task of convincing them while appointing former chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah for assistance. Last week, the advocates visited the site multiple times to tell protesters they should set an example for the world. Some nodded, some showed reluctance.
Habibullah said protesters shouldn't be blamed for traffic problem
Yesterday, Habibullah filed an affidavit in the apex court highlighting that the protest was peaceful and Delhi Police should be blamed for unnecessarily blocking roads. "There are numerous... roads that have no connection with the protest that have been barricaded by the police unnecessarily, abdicating their responsibilities and duties and wrongly laying the blame on the protest," Habibullah wrote.
He feared shifting protesters will put them at risk
"Any attempt to forcibly shift them (the protesters) from the present site would compromise their safety, especially in view of the abuses and threats that are regularly being meted out and hate speeches that have taken place," he added.
The conclusions left Swaraj Kaushal furious
Habibullah's findings miffed former Governor and husband of late Union Minister Sushma Swaraj, Swaraj Kaushal. Taking to Twitter he wrote, "Wajahat Habibullah has become 'wajah' of problem. You were asked to bridge the gap. But you have 'gapped the bridge'. You were asked to convince protesters to clear the Delhi-Noida road. You have returned with a justification of the 68-day blockade. It's beyond mandate."
Being labeled as Pakistanis hurt the protesters
Notably, through Habibullah's affidavit, the protesting women raised their concerns as well. They told SC the Centre didn't make any attempts to talk to them. "While they are proud citizens of the country, they are deeply hurt at being abused and labeled as anti-national/outsiders/ traitors/ Pakistanis in various political speeches as well as a section of the media, (sic)" the affidavit reportedly said.