Delhi Police Blocked Roads, Not us: Shaheen Bagh Protesters to SC
Shaheen Bagh women respond to the SC verdict stating that public roads can’t be indefinitely blocked for protests.
With inputs from: Meer Faisal, independent journalist
Video Editor: Sandeep Suman
The Shaheen Bagh protests against the CAA-NRC-NPR continued for over 100 days, in the bitter cold of the national capital. Triggered from the Delhi Police’s violence in Jamia Millia Islamia, hundreds of women, children and students had resolved to sit on the streets in Shaheen Bagh to resist the Narendra Modi government’s citizenship policies.
On 7 October, the Supreme Court of India, while hearing a batch of petitions regarding Shaheen Bagh, observed that while the Constitution of India gives the right to dissent, a public road cannot be indefinitely blocked by protesters.
Here’s what the protesters had to say about the top court’s ruling:
‘Nobody Came to Speak to Us for 100 Days’
Kaniz, who has lived in Shaheen Bagh all her life, said:
“We were sitting there to save our Constitution. But the protest dragged on for so long because nobody from the government came to talk to us. From a 95-year-old Dadi to a 20-day-old infant, everyone was sitting in the open with the temperature recording 2 degree Celsius. But nobody cared about us.”
‘Delhi Police Purposely Blocked Unnecessary Roads to Cause Nuisance’
82-year-old Bilkis Dadi, who was recently featured in TIME’s top 100 most influential persons, said, “We were just sitting on one side of the road. The other side was intentionally blocked by the Delhi police unnecessarily. We facilitated the movement of school vans and ambulances smoothly.”
‘Where Do We Go to Raise Our Voices Then?’
Sarvari dadi, also a resident of Shaheen Bagh, has a question for the Supreme Court judges. “Where do we go to raise our voices then? The government did not give us an alternate space to protest.”
Adding to dadi’s question, Shaheen said, “The alternate place that you have allotted for protests, whenever there is an agitation planned you either divert the traffic or close the metro stations. What is the option we are left with?"
‘Govt Used Our Protest to Gain Votes in Delhi Elections’
The Supreme Court also noted that the Delhi High Court should have monitored the situation and the administration should have acted sooner to prevent the encroachment – the manner of how they should have acted was their responsibility.
Reacting to the observation, Hena, another protester at Shaheen Bagh, said, “The government used the protest to gain votes in the Delhi elections. They used us, played with our emotions.”
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