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Saturday 6 June 2020

Shaheen Bagh and the predicament of Delhi Police

The court asked Delhi Police to solve the issue legally without asking the department to end the protest or finish the blockade in this Muslim-dominated area of Delhi

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Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Population Register (NPR) have been going on in Shaheen Bagh, Delhi, for the last month. Due to this demonstration, the road from Delhi to Noida has remained jammed through the day for this entire month. When the matter reached the Delhi High Court, the court asked the administration to act according to the law.

The high court heard the matter on Tuesday and asked the union government and Delhi Police to “look at the big picture” and work for ordinary citizens. However, the court in its order has not explicitly ordered the police to end the dharna (sit-in/blockade) on Shaheen Bagh.

The Delhi government submitted before the court that it was not a party to this case and that Delhi’s law-and-order was not in its hands. The high court then asked the central police to take action in it.

Curiously, the court ordered neither to end the protest nor to clear the road blockade immediately.

Nearly two and a half million vehicles leave ply on this road connecting Noida and Delhi, which has been reduced to a huge bottleneck for the past one month. Now when the court has put the ball in the court of Delhi Police/union government to enforce law and order, there are few options left before the administration.

  1. The ongoing demonstration in Shaheen Bagh should be moved to some other place.
  2. The protesters should be removed through police action.
  3. A representative of the government meet the protesters and resolve the issue so that the blockade ends.
Map of Shaheen Bagh, Jamia Nagar, Okhla, New Delhi, Delhi 110025
Location of Shaheen Bagh in Delhi

Protests began on 15 December at the Muslim-dominated Shaheen Bagh against the CAA made in the parliament and implemented by the union government. Thousands of women, students and other protesters have stationed themselves here. Politicians are addressing the crowd every other day, with some of them misleading and provoking the crowd.

These demonstrations began around the same time when riots broke out in Seelampur of Delhi. While in the initial stages, wide-scale damage to properties in nearby Sukhdev Vihar was reported, the subsequent weeks saw just sit-in demonstrations and jingoistic speeches.

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