Anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protesters, who have been on an indefinite sit-in at Shaheen Bagh, attempted to march towards Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s residence on Sunday but soon returned after police denied them permission.
“We have been protesting here peacefully and if we go there to meet him, we will only go peacefully,” said Shakila, one of the protesters, explaining why no altercation took place between protesters and the authorities.
The march, which started at 2 p.m., went till one of the barricades, where a police contingent stopped protesters and told them that they would not be allowed to move forward as they were not granted any permission. “We were assured that our request to meet Mr. Shah would be conveyed,” Ms. Shakila said.
Shadab Azam, a volunteer, said that the local SHO had proposed that the protesters form a delegation of about 10 people who may visit Mr. Shah, but many called this untenable.
“It is a public protest, it is highly decentralised,” he explained.
“It would be easier if he [Amit Shah] comes here. If we have to meet him, then lakhs of us will have to go,” said Rahat Parveen, another volunteer, adding that the Minister would be welcomed if he chose to come to Shaheen Bagh.
The demand of the protesters remains the same since demonstrations started over two months ago.
“Tomorrow if the Supreme Court tells us to move, we will not,” said Shagufta Kausar, a protester, commenting on the hearing on Shaheen Bagh in the Supreme Court on Monday.
“If the Citizenship law is rolled back, we will all leave the protest site in a minute,” said Ms. Kausar.
R.P. Meena, DCP (South-East) said, the protesters had called for a march to Mr. Shah’s residence stating that approximately 5,000 of them will start the march at 2 p.m. for a dialogue over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
Rounds of negotiations
The protesters were asked to take prior appointment from the Union Minister. After continuous dialogue and efforts from senior police officers of South-East district, including Additional Deputy Commissioners of Police, the protesters put their march on hold as they did not have the necessary permission from the law enforcement agencies concerned.