Sunday, April 14, 2024

A Letter addressed to the Judges of Supreme Court by ‘The People of Shaheen Bagh’

Shaheen Bagh protestors send a letter to the Judges of the Supreme Court of India against forcible removal and destruction of Shaheen Bagh protest site and have also submitted a prayer for the rights of the Citizens.

The letter says that Janta Curfew declared by the government for 22nd March was respected in spirit and the protestors adhering to the restrictions enforced in the interest of public health and safety. However, symbolically the dissent was maintained, the Shaheen Bagh gathering had been thoroughly sanitised and cleared of anything and anyone more than the symbolic protest of 3-5 women protesters seated at sufficient distance from each other. The letter also alleges that despite peaceful protest, a vicious bomb attack was attempted by unidentified miscreants on 22nd March in spite of a strict curfew.

Mentioning about the 24th March incident letter says that huge formations of Police forces arrived at Shaheen Bagh and forcibly evicted and detained the few remaining women protesters and some male volunteers.

Letter also stated that “While we understand the need for stricter imposition of curfew and enforcement of pertinent restrictions, the ruthless dismantling and thoughtless destruction of the markers of our physical protest, especially the very structures whose placement is in question in a matter that is sub judice in the SC, reeks of strong vendetta and ill feelings towards our innocent protesters, locals and sympathizers.”

The protestors of Shaheen Bagh have condemned the act of Police by calling it deeply unsettling. The protestors demanded a fair probe into the involvement of all the unidentified, non-designated and non-Police personnel present with the Police forces at Shaheen Bagh between 6 to 10 AM on 24th March when the incident took place.

The Charter of Citizen’s Rights and Prayers submitted before the Supreme Court by the Protestors was started by stating that “We would like to begin by saying that we are grateful to the Hon’ble Supreme Court for having recognised our satyagraha as being genuine and legitimate, despite the constant attacks on our motives. It was for the first time that any institution had taken cognizance of our long sit-in and appointed interlocutors to understand our problems.”

Charter informed the court that in view of spread of pandemic disease COVID19, all the protestors have got up from the protest site except for two to three women who are present there as a symbol of our protest. The library established by volunteers during the protests has been closed. The school and art club set up by volunteers for the children of Shaheen Bagh has also been closed.

Discussing about the current situation of the Nation due to COVID19, charter stated that “Our struggle has been for an inclusive and participatory form of citizenship based on values of mutual empathy, care and dignity. Now that we are called upon to show our commitment to these values, we shall rise to the occasion” and ensured that the protestors stand in solidarity with their fellow citizens, public health workers, health care professionals, sanitation staff, unorganized labour and other frontline responders.

Protestors of Shaheen Bagh at last in their charter stated that “We have come a long distance in our fight against injustice; We do realise that our efforts have birthed practical, tangible sources of dissent in the system itself. When we began only four states had passed a resolution against CAA – NRC – NPR, today the number is 12. We look forward to guidance from the hon’ble Supreme Court.”

-Gautam Mishra


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