The Delhi Police today morning deployed a huge number of its forces and imposed Section 144 in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh area which has been the epicentre of the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) agitation as the protesters have been sitting on the road since December 15 demanding the withdrawal of the Act.
“As a precautionary measure, there is heavy police deployment here (Shaheen Bagh); Our aim is to maintain law and order and prevent any untoward incident from occurring,” new agency ANI quoted Joint Commissioner D C Srivastava as saying.
Earlier, a right-wing group Hindu Sena had made a call to clear the Shaheen Bagh protest site on March 1, saying that the police had failed to clear the road, so they will do it . The Hindu Sena called off the protest after police intervened on Saturday, police said that Section 144 is imposed as a “precautionary measure” in the wake of the communal riots in northeast Delhi.
Although, the Hindu Sena has alleged that the police pressurised them to call off their proposed March 1 protest. It further alleged that their national president Vishnu Gupta was “illegally detained”.
The police has however dismissed these allegations by the Hindu Sena and said that no one was detained and the organisation called off their protest after a conversation with senior officials.
Earlier, the Delhi Police’s role came under scanner in the northeast Delhi riots for not being able to stop the unprecedented violence, which the national capital witnessed in decades. At least 42 people have lost their lives while over 350 have been injured in the clashes between the supporters and opponents of CAA.
The violence started on Saturday last week after BJP leader Kapil Mishra carried out a rally in Jaffrabad area and gave a three-day ultimatum to the anti-CAA protesters in the area to clear. “Three days’ ultimatum for Delhi Police – clear the roads in Jaffrabad and Chand Bagh. After this, we won’t listen to you,” he declared. In a video of the speech, he can be seen making these incendiary comments even as a Delhi Police officer stands next to him.
While, Shaheen Bagh has been the epicentre of the anti-CAA agitation as the protesters have been sitting at the venue since December 15 demanding the withdrawal of the Act which they alleged to be anti-Muslim.
Two petitions before the Supreme Court had sought direction from the court to the Centre, police and state government to take immediate steps to remove protesters from Shaheen Bagh.
The apex court had on February 4 asked senior advocate Sanjay Hegde to “play a constructive role as an interlocutor” and talk to the Shaheen Bagh protesters to move to an alternative site where no public place would be blocked.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday deferred the hearing on petitions to remove the anti-citizenship law protesters from Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh to March 23 saying that the environment is not conducive to hear PILs.
“Environment isn’t very conducive to hear Shaheen Bagh protests case. Sanity has to be maintained by everyone when a matter is to be heard,” a bench of Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph observed.
“Let everything cool down first. There are larger issues that need to be handled right now. I expect both sides to act responsibly,” Justice Kaul said as the matter was adjourned to March 23.