Former information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah filed an affidavit in the apex court on the ongoing protests at Shaheen Bagh, describing them as “peaceful”, and noting that the Delhi Police were the ones who had unnecessarily blockaded other roads in the area.
The Supreme Court on Monday, 17 February, had said that its two appointed interlocutors – Sanjay Hegde and Sadhana Ramachandran – could take Habibullah’s help when holding talks with the anti-CAA-NRC protesters who have been sitting at Shaheen Bagh for over two months now, in order to arrive at a conclusion and clear the road blockade.
Habibullah is an intervenor in the cases filed asking for the protests to be ended or moved. The affidavit filed by him says that the protest remains peaceful and the police has blocked five points around Shaheen Bagh.
If the blockades were to be removed, according to Habibullah, then the traffic issues in the area will be resolved, adding that the police blockage seemed unnecessary.
School vans and ambulances are allowed to pass through the roads after checking by police, he added. The government should speak to the protesters regarding the CAA, NPR and NRC, Habibullah recommended.
Habibullah is the former chairman of the National Commission for Minorities. Following the submission of the interlocutors’ report, the next hearing on Shaheen Bagh in the Supreme Court is scheduled to be held on Wednesday 26 February.
Naqvi, Azad Also File Petitions; Allege Police Orchestration, BJP Conspiracy
Activist Syed Bahadur Abbas Naqvi and Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Azad also took a similar stance in a joint affidavit filed in the Supreme Court. Habibullah, Azad and Naqvi have jointly filed an intervention application as well.
The joint affidavit by Naqvi and Azad says that "the present ruling dispensation, at the behest of its political masters, had devised a strategy of extinguishing these protests by falsely attributing violence and acts of vandalism to peaceful protestors," PTI reported.
Naqvi and Azad also claimed that the inconvenience to traffic has been “deliberately orchestrated by the police” who have strategically blocked roads, as per PTI, and also alleged that the petition filed by Amit Sahni, a member and BJP supporter, was a conspiracy because his residence, office and daily commute route are nowhere near Shaheen Bagh.
Habibullah's petition says that "Shaheen Bagh stands tall as a firm example of peaceful dignified dissent, more so in the face of various instances of state-sponsored violence on similar dissents across India."We have been sad and mute witnesses to police brutality and negative typecasting of a particular community across the country. Crushing dissent instead of entering into a dialogue is the new norm, but it is alien to our Constitution," as reported by PTI.
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