SC-Appointed Interlocutors Say Shaheen Bagh Meeting ‘Fruitful’

The matter is posted for the hearing next on 24 February.

Updated19 Feb 2020, 04:51 PM IST
3 min read

A three-member team appointed by the Supreme Court and headed by senior advocate Sanjay Hegde met the anti-CAA protesters at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh on Wednesday, 19 February.

Hegde and senior advocate Sadhana Ramachandran said that they were hopeful for a “good resolution” over the issue.

“We have had a very fruitful first meeting with the protesters at Shaheen Bagh today. We met a whole lot of very proud Indians who have great confidence in their constitutional institutions. There was great appreciation of the Supreme Court and its important belief in democratic dialogue,” said Ramachandran.

“It is very important for aggrieved parties to be heard, it is how we saw it and everyone expressed their confidence as joint co-citizens of this country and that together we can find a feasible solution.”
Sadhana Ramachandran

“We thank all the participants in the interaction for their discipline. We specially thank the Delhi police, the media and the Shaheen Bagh volunteers for their constructive cooperation. We will return tomorrow with a renewed hope of resolution that satisfies all,” Hegde added.

“SC has upheld your right to protest, we will listen to everyone,” Ramachandran told Shaheen Bagh protestors.

Ramachandran added that CAA “has been challenged in the Supreme Court. But like us, others too have their rights, like right to use roads, open their shops.”

Talking to the press after the meeting, she said, “We asked them if they want us to come back tomorrow as it's not possible to complete the talks in one day. They said they want us to come back tomorrow, so we will.”

This comes two days after the apex court asked Hedge and advocate Sadhana Ramachandran to meet the protesters at the site and discuss moving the protest to an alternative site where no public place would be blocked. The two lawyers were told that they could take the help of former Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah.

Several protesters contested the claim that the sit-in was causing inconvenience to a large number of commuters, reported PTI. They say the road is used by only a few commuters, that too mostly from the vicinity of Jamia Nagar and Okhla who had agreed to the use of the site for the demonstration.

“We have come here according to the order of Supreme Court. We hope to speak to everyone. We hope to resolve the matter with everybody’s cooperation.”
Sanjay Hegde, Supreme Court-Appointed Lawyer, at Shaheen Bagh

The matter is posted for the hearing next on 24 February.

“The SC’s decision is welcome and we fully accept it. We will be happy to meet the mediators who have been appointed by the apex court. I don't know if the protesters would agree to move,” said Ritu Khosla from the Shaheen Bagh Co-ordination Committee.

“The decision to change the venue of the protest will entirely depend on the joint decision taken by all protesters of Shaheen Bagh.”
Ritu Khosla, Shaheen Bagh Co-ordination Committee

Hundreds of people, especially women, have been camping at Shaheen Bagh for over two months in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, blocking an arterial road due to which the city has been facing traffic congestions.

Small But Important Victory: Shaheen Bagh Residents

“We are happy that at least the SC thought that there should be a dialogue because the government has been avoiding a dialogue. The government may think that removal of the protest point is their victory but the victory is ours because now we will directly talk and bring a solution in rolling back the CAA,” said Azim Khan, a resident and shopkeeper at Shaheen Bagh.

Amit Malviya, BJP Information & Technology Head posted a video on Twitter on Wednesday, alleging that civil rights activist Teesta Setalvad is tutoring protesters on questions to be asked to SC-appointed interlocutors on Wednesday evening.

The Shaheen Bagh protesters had marched towards Union Home Minister Amit Shah's residence on 16 February seeking to talk to him about the amended citizenship law. They were stopped by Delhi Police mid-way. The march had included senior citizen women, popularly known as the ‘Dabangg Dadis’ of Shaheen Bagh.

The famous ‘dadis’ of Shaheen Bagh welcomed the decision, saying they now expect genuine mediation with the government.

“We started our protest on 15 December when the students at Jamia Millia Islamia were beaten up miserably by the police. We won’t be too happy to move but since it is the court’s decision, we will accept it with full respect,” said Shaheeda Khan, a resident of Batla House.

“However, moving the point of protest won’t be a decision accepted by all,” she added.

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Published: 19 Feb 2020, 09:57 AM IST
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