After exhibiting utter insanity in trying to meet the home minister of the country by marching to his residence without an appointment, the activists of Shaheen Bagh today made it apparent that they don’t follow news of current affairs, even reports that are about them. While it was clearly stated that the mediators who would try to break the logjam on the arterial road could not entertain demands like the scrapping of the amended citizenship act, when senior advocates Sanjay Hegde and Sadhana Ramachandran asked them when they would clear the road, an old woman said, “When CAA is withdrawn”!
In fact, the interlocutors do not have the power to entertain this demand.
In Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, a path of reconciliation could still open between the union government and the squatters. The senior advocates appointed by the Supreme Court are talking to the protesters to work out a formula of reconciliation.
Hegde had tweeted using his unverified handle to seek suggestions from people before reaching Shaheen Bagh. He said in the tweet, “I am going to Shaheen Bagh. Any suggestions?”
The protesters complained people were accusing them of being traitors. “Some people want to shoot us. We are not traitors, but patriots. We have faced the British,” a woman claimed.
Shaheen Bagh uncomfortable with media presence
Earlier, when Hegde and Ramachandran reached Shaheen Bagh, they were greeted with applause. The negotiators said they did not want to interact with the protesters in the presence of the media. “Let the media let us talk to the protesters first. After that, we will inform the media about it,” Hegde said.
But reporters on the spot demanded that they be allowed to ask questions. The negotiators insisted the media would be briefed later. Protesters are of the opinion that the media should be allowed to stay. One of them said, “Despite this, if there is any inconvenience, we will tell the media to go.” But some women opposed the presence of the media.
Hegde said he was in no hurry. “We have come to hear you,” he told the audience.
On reaching the stage, Hegde read out the decision of the Supreme Court. He said everyone was allowed to protest, but none had the right to block a public road. He said, “We have not come here to give you a verdict, but have come to talk.”
The honcho of Shaheen Bagh
Then the interlocutor saw the old lady and said, “I’ll first listen to ‘dādi‘.” The Supreme Court-appointed negotiator told the protesters, “We have come to listen to everyone. We have no haste nor hurry. We will first listen to ‘grandma’ and then patiently listen to the elderly. We want to listen and understand. We will speak less and listen more.”
That was when the woman came up with the gem. She declared the demonstrators “will not move back an inch even if you open fire on us”.
The fact that precludes the talks from reaching a meaningful conclusion is that this “dādi“, who has been squatting in Shaheen Bagh, will lead the conversation with the interlocutors. And the protesting people say that unless the CAA is withdrawn, “we will not stop the dharna or move to some other place”.
The protesters standing on the road in Shaheen Bagh have agreed to talk to the interlocutors, but are not ready to back down from their demands.
Hegde tries to melt the ice
After talking to another protesting woman, Hegde said, “I am very impressed with your talk. My children study in a big law college, but they too are not able to present their views so well.”
Hegde said, “Freedom resides in the heart of the people of India. If people like you take the constitution forward, the spirit of independence will progress in the country.”
A protesting woman asked, “Is Delhi Police allowed to do videography here?” Senior advocate Ramachandran said, “The Supreme Court knows your right to do a movement very well.”
Earlier, Ramachandran while addressing the protesters, had said, “You have the right to protest. The Supreme Court has decided that you can agitate, but this right should be there as long as they do not come in the way of the rights of others. It is the right of the people to protest, but it is not right to block a road, stop the Metro and stop a public road. Find a solution to this issue together.”
“The government and the people sitting on the protest have to find a solution. Solve this matter in such a way that it becomes an example for the people,” Ramachandran said. Sanjay Hegde and she then asked the media to stay away from the venue of the protest while their talks with the demonstrators were on.
The strike against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Shaheen Bagh has been going on for 67 days.
After telling the media he has not been formally informed about being a mediator between the negotiators and the protesters, Wajahat Habibullah reached the protest venue at 4:30 PM.
The Supreme Court, in an ongoing hearing on Shaheen Bagh, had made it clear that everyone had the right to protest in the country but no one had the right to close a thoroughfare.
The Narendra Modi government has made it clear time and again that the CAA will stay despite pressure from certain sections of the domestic and international crowd.