The Supreme Court appointed mediators today visited Shaheen Bagh, the site of anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests, to initiate talks with the protesters, asserting that the top court has upheld their right to protest but it should not affect the rights of other citizens.
Shaheen Bagh has been the epicenter of the anti-CAA protest 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.
The top court chose senior advocates Sanjay Hegde and Sadhna Ramchandran and former bureaucrat Wajahat Habibullah to talk to the Citizenship Amendment Act protesters blocking the 13A road that is a crucial link between Delhi and Noida, and find an alternative protest location.
The two mediators advocate Sadhana Ramachandran and senior advocate Sanjay Hegde reached Shaheen Bagh while Former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah could not make it.
Ramachandran addressed the crowd and said, “The Supreme Court has upheld your right to protest. But then other citizens also have their rights and it should also be maintained.”
“We want to together find a solution to the problem. We will listen to everyone,” she said (in Hindi).
Earlier, Hegde explained the Supreme Court order to the protesters which was translated into Hindi by Ramachandran.
Speaking to media before addressing protestors, Hegde hoped for a fruitful interaction with the protestors as he said, “We hope the talks will be successful.”
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had begun hearing a petition seeking directions to the police to take action to ensure smooth traffic movement on the Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch, which has been closed for over two months due to the CAA protests, making the public at large suffer.
The plea moved by lawyer-activist Amit Sahni on January 20 sought supervision of the situation in Shaheen Bagh where several women are sitting on an indefinite protest, by a retired Supreme Court judge or a sitting judge of the Delhi High Court to avoid any further deterioration in the situation and to circumvent any violence.
BJP leader Nand Kishor Garg had also sought a direction from the top court to the Centre, police and state government to take immediate steps to remove protesters from Shaheen Bagh who have been protesting for more than a month against the Citizenship Amendment Act by blocking the road connecting Delhi to Noida.
Shaheen Bagh had become a poll agenda of BJP during the recently concluded Delhi Assembly polls as it took the issue to launch an attack on ruling AAP.
However, multiple controversial statements were made by BJP leaders including Minister of State Anurag Thakur, West Delhi MP Parvesh Verma and Model Town constituency BJP candidate Kapil Mishra during the election campaign.