COVID-19: Shaheen Bagh Sit-in Cleared Amid Lockdown; Some Detained
Shaheen Bagh had decided to continue the protest with lesser number of people and slippers as symbols of solidarity.
In the wake of coronavirus outbreak and a complete lockdown in the national capital, Shaheen Bagh’s three-month long protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) came to a halt as the police on Tuesday morning, 24 March, cleared the protest site.
At Shaheen Bagh which has been the epicentre of anti-CAA protests since December last year, security was tightened and the protest area was sealed by the police after a prohibitory order under Section 144 was promulgated in Delhi in light of coronavirus concerns.
A total of nine protesters, including six women, were detained and taken to a nearby police station, Deputy Commissioner of Police (southeast) R P Meena said.
“People at the protest site in Shaheen Bagh were requested today to clear the site as lockdown has been imposed. But after they refused, action was taken against violators as the assembly was unlawful. Protest site has been cleared. Some protesters have been detained.”DCP, Southeast Delhi, as quoted by ANI
About 50 protesters including men were at the venue when it was vacated, reported PTI. A decision about resuming the protest will be taken after the coronavirus situation comes under control, a volunteer told PTI on condition of anonymity.
Later, locals gathered near the anti-CAA protest site in Shaheen Bagh despite many warnings from the state governemnt.
With Chappals as Symbols of Solidarity, Shaheen Bagh Protest Was Continuing With Less People
On Sunday, during the 'Janata Curfew', only five women were at the site while others had left their slippers as a symbol of solidarity.
The women were taking all precautions amid the coronavirus outbreak and sanitizers had been arranged at the venue to ensure utmost hygiene, one of the volunteers had told The Quint.
Unidentified men had hurled "inflammable substance" near the site on Sunday but none of the five women protesters present there were injured.
Last week when the police had gone to speak to the protesters – mostly women – about clearing the protest site, they refused. Some of them raised slogans and said they would stop the protest only when the government withdraws CAA.
Their resistence drew criticism from many quarters, including the early supporters of the protest as India battles coronavirus.
‘The Fight Lives on’: Shaheen Bagh Protesters
Jamia Protest Site Cleared Too
Police also cleared the protest site outside Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI). JMI had temporarily suspended the protest on 21 March at Gate no 7, in view of coronavirus, ANI reported.
Police also used a drone to monitor the situation.
Hauz Rani Protest Site Cleared
The protest site in Hauz Rani has been cleared by police as prohibitory orders under Section 144 is in place in Delhi, ANI reported.
Shaheen Bagh-style sit-ins in other cities have also been either called off or scaled down. While Mumbai Bagh and Bilal Bagh in Bengaluru temporarily suspended the protest, seven protesters in Kolkata’s Park Circus have decided to continue the sit-in.
Shaheen Bagh Matter Pending With SC; Interlocutors React to Clearance of Protest Site
A petition to remove Shaheen Bagh protesters in view of causing public nuisance was being heard in the Supreme Court who adjourned the matter owing to the closure of courts due to coronavirus.
The Supreme Court-appointed interlocutors of Shaheen Bagh on Tuesday, 24 March, appealed to people to not see the clearing of the sit-in protests as a "win or lose."
On Sunday, 22 March, Arvind Kejriwal had announed a complete lockdown in Delhi to curb the spread of novel coronavirus. Considering the number of positive cases of COVID-19 shooting up rapidly, CM had also announced that all public gatherings including protests will be prohibited in the national capital.
As of Tuesday, India has recorded at least 471 positive case of Coronavirus. Delhi alone has seen at least 30 cases.
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