Advocates Sanjay Hegde and Sadhana Ramachandran, who have been asked by the Supreme Court to speak to the anti-CAA protesters at Shaheen Bagh and find a solution to the road-block issue, visited the protest site today.
Hedge and Ramachandran met the protesters and spoke to them. “We have come here according to the order of the Supreme Court. We hope to speak to everyone. We hope to resolve the matter with everybody’s cooperation,” said Hegde.
Ramachandran echoing the Supreme Court order, she said, “The Supreme Court has said that you have the right to protest. The law (CAA) has been challenged in the Supreme Court. But like us, others too have their rights, like the right to use roads, open their shops.”
Both Hedge and Ramachandran assured the protesters to resolve the on going conflict.
This follows the apex court’s suggestions that the agitators should be asked to carry on the agitation in an alternate location which doesn’t block a public space causing inconvenience for the people.
The SC on Monday had expressed concern over the blockade and suggested that the protest site be shifted to another location appointing Advocate Sanjay Hegde and Sadhna Ramachandran. The court also granted liberty to Hedge and Ramachandran to choose a third person to assist them. Former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah name was chosen to assist the interlocutors in talking to the protesters.
The Supreme Court on February 10 had said anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protestors at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh cannot block a public road, causing inconvenience for the common people.
A division bench comprising Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph had issued notice to the Centre, Delhi government and Delhi Police, while hearing a plea seeking removal of protesters from Shaheen Bagh.
The bench, however, said people are entitled to protest but they have to do so in an area designated for protests.
“You can’t block a public road. How can you continue protests at common areas? You can’t block the entire city. It has to be in an area identified for protests,” the court observed.
The anti-citizenship law protests have been going on in the area since December 15 last year.
Around 700 women, some of whom with children, have been camping since December 15 and refused to move till the controversial statute is withdrawn.
On January 14, a Delhi High Court bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar had held that the police have all power, jurisdiction, and authority to control the traffic, wherever protests or agitations are going on, in the larger public interest.
While disposing of the petition filed by advocate and activist Amit Sahni, the court had said that maintaining law and order is a state function and authorities concerned should look into it in the larger interest of public.
The Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh Stretch i.e. Road No. 13 A (between Mathura Road and Kalindi Kunj) as well as Okhla underpass, were closed on December 15, 2019, due to the protests as a temporary measure, but the road closure was extended from time to time till date.
The next hearing in the case has been scheduled on February 24.