The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the city police to explore options to end the blockade on the Shaheen Bagh-Kalindi Kunj road that connects Delhi with Noida in Uttar Pradesh. The traffic on the road has been blocked for more than a month due to ongoing protests against the amended Citizenship Act in Shaheen Bagh.
A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar on Tuesday directed the Delhi Police to look into the issue while also keeping in mind ‘larger public interests.’
“We hereby direct the concerned respondent authorities to look into the grievances ventilated by the petitioner in the writ petition about the restrictions of the usage of the road which is known as Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh Stretch i.e Road No. 13 A (between Mathura Road and Kalindi Kunj) as well as Okhla underpass and will react, in according with laws, rules, regulations and government policies applicable to the facts of the present case,” NDTV quoted the order as reading.
The High Court also added, “The concerned respondent authorities shall also keep in mind the larger public interest as well as the maintenance of the law and order.”
Shaheen Bagh has become a symbol of renaissance on the issue of the CAA that discriminates against Muslims in providing citizenship to immigrants. Home Minister Amit Shah’s past speeches and TV interviews suggest that the law has been enacted to make millions of genuine Muslim citizens of India stateless after the government introduces the preparation of the NRC, the National Register of Citizens.
The organisers of Shaheen Bagh protests argue that they are only protesting on one part of the road and have kept the other half of the road unoccupied for the smooth flow of traffic. They blame the local police to deliberately block the entire route connecting Delhi and Noida allegedly to portray the protesters in poor light. One protester said that the court ought to have asked the Delhi Police why it had closed down the entire stretch as well as the Okhla underpass adding that this was primarily to blame protesters for causing public inconvenience.
Police had also closed the Okhla underpass and the Shaheen Bagh-Kalindi Kunj stretch in December soon after Shaheen Bagh became the centre of protests against the CAA. Protesters had moved to Shaheen Bagh after the Delhi Police launched a brutal crackdown by illegally entering the Jamia Millia Islamia campus.
Shaheen Bagh has drawn the attention of both national and international media with the protests being largely led by women.