Shaheen Bagh protesters want SC order on their security if road parallel to protest site is opened

Shaheen Bagh protesters want SC order on their security if road parallel to protest site is opened

The Shaheen Bagh protesters told the Supreme Court-appointed interlocutors on Friday that if the road parallel to the anti-CAA protest site was opened, the apex court should pass an order ensuring their security.

The interlocutors -- senior advocates Sanjay Hegde and Sadhana Ramachandran-- began the third day of their discussion with the Shaheen Bagh protesters on Friday evening.

Restrictions on the Kalindi Kunj road between Noida and Delhi continued on Friday and no changes have been made to it, officials said.

The Delhi Police admitted that the protesters had not blocked the parallel road, but they had barricaded it to provide security to the protest site.

The road, which connects Noida to South East Delhi and further to Faridabad in Haryana, was closed for traffic in the wake of the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protest at Shaheen Bagh since December 15.

Only emergency vehicles like ambulances and school buses are being allowed to pass through the stretch of road, police said.

"When several adjoining roads are open, why are they insisting us to move from this road? This is not the only road connecting Delhi to Noida," a woman protester told the interlocutors.

Hegde said, "Today is Shivratri. If somebody uses a cuss word, it becomes a blessing today. It is your right to speak. Speak up. Say everything you want to say. Let us take a joint decision for all the affected parties here."

The protesters told the interlocutors that the police barricaded the road parallel road to their tent, besides two other roads that connect to the Shaheen Bagh-Kalindi Kunj road.

The interlocutors called the police to the spot to discuss the matter with the protesters.

A police official told the interlocutors that the parallel road as well as certain other roads were kept barricaded to give protection to the protest site.

"We barricaded the parallel road to ensure security to the protest site. If the road is opened to commuters, we will ensure double security to the protesters," the police official said.

A woman protester stood up and told the mediators, "The government thinks women are uneducated. All of us are educated women who know what we are fighting for. The students from Jamia Millia Islamia University, who were teaching us more on CAA and NRC, are being beaten up. If the police could not stop the men who fired at us, how are they claiming that they will protect us if the parallel road is opened?"

Another woman protester said, "We want in writing that if there is a single incident of attack or firing, the police officials, from the SHO to the police commissioner, should be shunted out. Home Minister Amit Shah has said the NRC is not coming soon, so ask him to issue a circular, saying they are not bringing the NRC now. We want the Supreme Court to pass an order on our security if the road adjoining the protest site is opened."

The interlocutors checked on all the roads connecting Delhi to Noida late on Thursday, along with some protesters and police officials.

Ramachandran said, "When we checked on the roads, we noticed that you (protesters) were right. Many roads are open, which were blocked by the police. I am very upset to say that the Noida-Faridabad road, which was opened on Friday, was again closed by the police. Whoever has done this is now answerable to the Supreme Court."

The restrictions are a "conscious" decision of the Noida police and are continuing as it is, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Noida Traffic) Rajesh S told PTI. He added that the day, the Delhi Police decides to lift the restrictions, "we will also do it on our side".

"Only emergency vehicles like ambulances and school buses are allowed through the road stretch which has already been happening since the restrictions were put in place," he said.