Road near Shaheen Bagh opened by protesters: police

The move follows a visit by court-appointed interlocutors

February 22, 2020 10:24 pm | Updated February 23, 2020 12:57 am IST - New Delhi

Open again: A stretch of the road that was closed for over two months being cleared on Saturday.

Open again: A stretch of the road that was closed for over two months being cleared on Saturday.

A stretch of a road near the Shaheen Bagh protest site here was opened on Saturday, following a visit by a Supreme Court-appointed interlocutor .

However, volunteers involved in the protests whom The Hindu spoke to differed on who opened the road — the police or the protesters themselves.

Shaheen Kauser, a social activist who has been protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act for the last two months, informed that Sadhana Ramchandran, one of the interlocutors , visited the site on Saturday morning to speak to the protesters here. “She listened to us without imposing her views and told us that all our concerns would be placed before the court,” she said. Protesters insisted that in order to open one side of the National Highway on which the protests have been taking place, they would need assurances from police officials, Ms. Kauser said. But no discussion on opening any other road took place, she said.

The police said a small stretch was opened by protesters, followed by a visit by the interlocutors in the morning. “A section of the protesters opened the stretch that joins Abu Fazal Enclave to Kalindi Kunj Junction but after a few minutes, it was closed again by another group. Subsequently, the stretch was opened again by the protesters and it remains open,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (South East) R.P. Meena said.

Meraj Khan, a volunteer, said Road No. 9, which connects Sarita Vihar to Kalindi Kunj, was opened by the protesters. While the road had been blocked by the police earlier, the protesters had also put up a blockade here but were allowing ambulances and school vans to pass through, he said. Mohamed Shabazz, another volunteer, said the blockade of the road to Jamia Millia Islamia was cleared by the police, and the protesters were not involved.

After talks on Friday, interlocutor Sanjay Hegde had said the protesters, in principle, were not against opening of the non-protest side of the road if their security could be guaranteed in writing by the police under suitable orders of the Supreme Court.

( With inputs from PTI )

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