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Friday 10 April 2020

Shaheen Bagh activists didn’t know how to meet home minister

When Shaheen Bagh protesters said yesterday they wanted to meet the home minister today at 2 PM, they had no idea they needed an appointment

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On 15 February, Sirf News had published two inter-related stories wherein the first said that a section of anti-CAA protesters in Shaheen Bagh, all women, wanted to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The follow-up story quoted officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs who said that the ministry had received no request for an appointment of the activists with the home minister. It now transpires that the boisterous but uneducated crowd had no idea whatsoever how to go about the business. They took out a march to barge into the ministry. Why to cares for an appointment?

The protesters of Shaheen Bagh could not meet Home Minister Shah. On Sunday morning, the protesters marched to meet him, but after talking to the police, they returned.

Heavy security forces are deployed in the area.

Additional DCP Kumar Dnyanesh said that the situation was normal and under control. Some demonstrators came up to the barricades, he said. When the officer was asked them whether they had an appointment, they said they did not. Then they accepted it was needed and, after a conversation, went back to where they had come from.

Earlier, DCP South East RP Meena had said Shaheen Bagh protesters told the police that they wanted to march to meet Home Minister Shah. “But we refused because they did not have an appointment,” he said.

Delhi Police had on Saturday night sought a list from the protesters of Shaheen Bagh of names of those who wanted to visit the home minister.

The police learnt that when the protesters had talked about meeting the home minister at 2 PM on Sunday, the latter had actually meant they would march to him from Shaheen Bagh. Shaheen Bagh protesters had written a letter to Delhi Police, where they sought permission to march from Sarita Vihar to reach the home minister’s residence via Ashram crossroads. Of course, the police couldn’t have allowed this and they didn’t.

Protesters of Shaheen Bagh, who have been demonstrating against the Citizenship Amendment Act, the National Register of Citizens and even the National Population Register, said they were ready to meet Home Minister Shah. However, the Home Minister’s office made it clear that there was no request from the protesters of Shaheen Bagh to meet the home minister.

One may recall that in December 2019, the Seelampur rioters had a similar, albeit more violent, idea of meeting the home minister.

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