After two days of dialogue between the Supreme Court-appointed interlocutors and the protestors of Shaheen Bagh, the Delhi and Uttar Pradesh police had to move the barricade blocking the Faridabad-Noida highway today. The barricades blocking the roads have been put in place blocking commuters from using the road for the last 69 days since the women of Shaheen Bagh took to the road to demonstrate an indefinite sit-in against the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
While the police moved the barricades, the road was only opened for merely 40 minutes easing the traffic for the meantime, but the barricades were back up since there was some scuffle around its opening. One of the protestors told SheThePeople, “Yes, the police opened the barricade but they had to put it back up because there was resistance from a certain group. This group does not belong to Shaheen Bagh, these are the people who want to defame the protest by portraying it as if we want to keep the roads blocked. Our intent is not this. In fact, we are protesting to save our constitution, we wouldn’t want to trouble the public. Let the police open the barricade and we will facilitate the traffic.”
They added, “The mediators are going to come again today and we will tell them that the barricades are back up. The roads will be opened again and the Supreme Court will have to see to the matter of unnecessary blockade.”
The route on which the Shaheen Bagh protest is happening acts as the shortest passage between Faridabad and Noida – both of these cities fall under two different states, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh respectively. Daily commuters who live in either of the two cities and work in the other have been facing acute traffic on the other longer route due to the blockade on this route.
The interlocutors, Sadhana Ramachandran, Sanjay Hegde and Wajahat Habibullah came to the protest on Wednesday and Thursday and spoke with the women. They told them that the protestors are in fact not blocking the roads but the barricades are. The protestors showed them the placement of unnecessary barricades and told the mediators that if those are moved, the public won’t face any more trouble and they would be able to still protest without having to move their location elsewhere.
“We urged protesters to come up with creative solutions to the traffic situation, while simultaneously protecting their right to protest,” senior lawyer Sanjay Hegde, one of the mediators, said after meeting the protesters for the second consecutive day on Thursday.
Yes, the police opened the barricade but they had to put it back up because there was resistance from a certain group. This group does not belong to Shaheen Bagh, these are the people who want to defame the protest by portraying it as if we want to keep the roads blocked.
On Monday, the Supreme Court-appointed the mediators to speak with the protestors and the bench also upheld the right of the protestors to protest.
The protestors at Shaheen Bagh, mainly women, have been on an indefinite sit-in demonstration since December 15 braving the chilling winters, rains, etc. Initially, they decided to protest against the violence that took place against the students of Jamia, many of whom belong to their families also because of the proximity between the two areas. However, one of their main demands as the protest has grown is to force the government to put an end to the implementation of CAA. They also want the government to give it in writing that it will not implement NRC and NPR nationwide.