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Thursday 2 April 2020

Shaheen Bagh activists may meet Shah tomorrow

A section of Shaheen Bagh protesters want to meet the home minister following his announcement on a TV channel he'd meet anybody who had misgivings about the CAA and address the issues in the next three days

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A section of squatting protesters in Shaheen Bagh may meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday. According to sources, some people involved in the demonstration may meet the home minister while some others among the organisers have reservations about this meeting.

This follows a public announcement by the home minister during an event organised by television channel Times Now where he had said that any citizen with misgivings about the amended citizenship law could meet him in the next three days to get the issues addressed.

Sources say that this meeting may take place at Amit Shah’s office or home. At present, the local police are not even aware of this meeting.

The protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Citizens Register (NRC) in Shaheen Bagh is unceasing. However, since the day of the Delhi election result, the crowd has begun thinning as though their aim was to impact the electoral process in a certain way.

During the election campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had appealed to the people to defeat the ideology that drove the protests. Home Minister Shah had echoed the sentiment, but it did not succeed.

This, despite the fact that the daily commuters of the areas like Ashram, New Friends Colony, Sarita Vihar, Badarpur, etc have been inconvenienced for the past two months, with the squatters blocking the road to Noida.

Some of these inconvenienced citizens had planned a counter-protest in early February to challenge the activists, which never happened.

This demonstrations at Shaheen Bagh have been a subject of discussion all over the country. Similar demonstrations are taking place in many cities, seeing a heavy attendance of Muslims pepped up by leftist Hindus. Shaheen Bagh became a big issue even in the Delhi Assembly elections.

Earlier, at the protest site, protesters of Shaheen Bagh continued to try projecting a soft image as they paid tributes to the soldiers of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) who had been killed in a suicide attack in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir, last year. On 14 February last year, a CRPF convoy was ambushed by a Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bomber in Pulwama, killing 40 jawans of the paramilitary force.

On the previous occasion, they had celebrated the Republic Day on the venue of protest.

A protestor in Shaheen Bagh said, “We missed the soldiers on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday on the anniversary of the attack and took out a candle march for the martyrs.”

The protestor further said, “There will be no speech here today, only the soldiers of the country will be remembered. Patriotic songs will be sung on Friday evening in the memory of the martyrs and there will be presentations in the memory of the soldiers.”

This change of tenor from belligerence to reconciliation is not new in leftist politics. It did not start with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal visiting a Hanuman temple before the assembly election or even in 2016 when communists carried the national flag for the first time since their inception in the 1920s to claim they were no lesser nationalists. India has witnessed this strategic, temporary softening of stance by leftist for decades.

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