Plea to forcibly remove Shaheen Bagh protesters filed in collusion with Centre: Bhim Army chief

Alternative routes deliberately closed to pile pressure on activists, apex court told

Published - February 12, 2020 05:51 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Bhim Army Chief Chandra Shekhar Azad addressing the media in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Bhim Army Chief Chandra Shekhar Azad addressing the media in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad and first Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah have jointly moved the Supreme Court to raise their voices in support of the ‘iconic’ Shaheen Bagh protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens.

They have sought to be impleaded in a petition filed by advocate Amit Sahni seeking a direction to forcibly remove the peaceful protesters. Mr. Sahni said the protests, which have been going on for over 50 days, has hampered the lives of ordinary commuters. The thoroughfares which usually see busy traffic have been sealed off.

Monday saw a Bench of Justices S.K. Kaul and K.M. Joseph gently draw the attention of the protesters, who are mostly mothers and senior citizens, to the inconvenience caused when protests are held on thoroughfares for days. The court had orally said protests cannot be carried on indefinitely in a common area. The court had however refused to pass any interim directions for the removal of the protesters. “The protests have been going on for over 50 days, you can wait. We like to hear the other side [police],” Justice Kaul said.

The court had issued formal notice to the Delhi police and listed the case for further hearing on February 17.

In their impleadment application, Mr. Habibullah and Mr. Azad said the petition has been filed in collusion with the Centre.

The application alleged that alternative routes through Shaheen Bagh have been deliberately closed to disrupt traffic to and fro Delhi, Noida and Faridabad to pile pressure on the protesters to stop. It contended that the blockade across these routes is done by the police on instructions from the Centre.

The application said any direction to stop the protests would have a “far-reaching impact on human rights of the citizens of this country”.

Mr. Sahni had asked for the setting up of a panel led by a retired Supreme Court judge or a sitting judge of the Delhi High Court to supervise the situation to avoid any violence.

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