The apex court issued notices to the Centre, Delhi government and the police on the pleas seeking removal protesters from Shaheen Bagh. (Photo Credit: File Photo)
The Supreme Court on Monday came down heavily on the anti-CAA protests that have been going on in south Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh area since December 15 last year. “You cannot block public roads indefinitely, protests cannot continue like this,” the top court said in a stern observation. The apex court issued notices to the Delhi Police, NCT government in the matter. The next hearing in the case has been scheduled for February 17. The Supreme Court said the people are entitled to protest but they have to do so in an area designated for agitation. However, the top court refused to give an interim order in the case.
A bench comprising Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph issued the order that is likely to affect the future of the anti-CAA stir. Restrictions have been imposed on the stretch as also the Okhla underpass due to protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC). Advocate Amit Sahni, who has filed an appeal in the apex court against the January 14 order of the high court directing the police to deal with the situation keeping in mind law and order, said that due to the protests since December 15 last year traffic flow on Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch has been badly affected.
The plea sought laying down of comprehensive and exhaustive guidelines relating to outright restrictions for holding protests or agitations leading to obstruction of public place. It said the law enforcement machinery was being “held hostage to the whims and fancies of the protesters” who have blocked vehicular and pedestrian movement from the road connecting Delhi to Noida.
State has the duty to protect fundamental rights of citizen who were continuously being harassed by the blockage of arterial road, the plea has said. A large number of women have been holding a sit-in against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) at Shaheen Bagh in south east Delhi since mid-December. The protest, supported by people from different fields including politicians, Bollywood actors and academicians, has emerged as a symbol of anti-CAA agitation in the country.
The protests at Shaheen Bagh was one of the major issues in the recently-held Delhi Assembly Elections. Top BJP leaders were seen making provocative statements against the stir at Shaheen Bagh. Union Minister Giriraj Singh had sparked a massive controversy with his provocative tweet against the ongoing anti-CAA protests in Delhi’ Shaheen Bagh area. Senior BJP leader tweeted a clip and said that Shaheen Bagh has become the hub of making ‘suicide bombers.’ He termed the protests at Shaheen Bagh as an anti-national conspiracy. Along with the tweet, Singh had posted a video in which a woman could be heard exhorting the protesters for ‘qurbani’.