Shaheen Bagh: Police Clears 101-Day Old Protest Against Citizenship Amendment Act

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Syed Khalique Ahmed | India tomorrow

NEW DELHI, MARCH 24—The Delhi police on Tuesday morning cleared the Shaheen Bagh sit-in protest which was going on for the last 101 days against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Police have detained in all eight persons, five of them women protesters who were on the protest and three men.

According to locals on the protest site, police had arrived in large numbers around 1.30 am and asked the women protesters to vacate the place as the Delhi government had declared total lockdown and also imposed curfew in view of the coronavirus menace. However, the women stayed put at the protest site and a large number of men and women also gathered on the spot.

However, the police reached there again with reinforcements and more than one hundred women police personnel. The police surrounded the protest site from all sides around 7 am, detained the women protesters and three men who tried to stop the police.

The police that had reached the spot with bulldozes, dismantled the tents, a museum and a giant size India map made of steel erected near the protest venue, with slogans of “No CAA, No NRC, No NPR”. The police that had gone there with dozens of labourers who loaded all these materials, including about 30 wooden beds, in trucks and took them away.

However, there was no resistance at all from the local population in view of the coronavirus epidemic which has forced people to stay indoors as also due to total lockdown and curfew imposed to check the spread of the virus.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Southeast Delhi) R P Meena told mediapersons that the police had told the protesters to leave due to outbreak of coronavirus but they refused and hence, the police was forced to take action.

One of the protesters-Prakash Devi-had earlier told the India Tomorrow that they had reduced the gathering at the protest site at the instance of police to 50 initially. When they said they would not allow more than five people, it was limited to five only, each of them sitting on beds at a distance of more than one metre while the remaining beds were having slippers of the protesters who had vacated the venue. Children and old women were not allowed to come to the protest site due to coronavirus outbreak.

Shaheen Bagh came into national and international limelight as it was the first place after police crackdown on Jamia Millia Islamia anti-CAA protesters where all-women protest was launched on December 15. Shaheen Bagh women chose the road as their venue that blocked the traffic between Delhi and NOIDA. Their movement was totally secular as women belonging to all faiths and from different backgrounds including those hailing from universities and colleges took part in it day and night. It inspired women all over the country and almost all the states organised anti-CAA protests and all these protest sites were name after Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh.

Police also on Tuesday morning cleared protesters from Turkman Gate, Jafrabad, Seelampur and Hauz Rani, near Malviya Nagar, all in Delhi. However, no one was detained from these places.

Protesters outside Jamia Millia Islamia university had suspended their protest from Sunday when a daylong ‘Janata Curfew’ was observed across the country on the request of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to fight coronavirus. Miscreants fired thrice at the Jamia university protests. A student was injured in one of the firing incidents.

Chronology of Shaheen Bagh Protest
December 15: Reacting to the police action against Jamia university students who had protested against CAA, women occupied 150 metre long portion of Delhi-Noida road passing from Shaheen Bagh, demanding withdrawal of CAA, National Register of Citizens and National Population Register (NPR) which they said was anti-Muslim as it wants to take away the citizenship of Muslims and put them in detention camps as it was being done in Assam.
December 16: The protest had been highly secular. As the clock struck 12 on December 20, heralding the coming of 2020, protesters sang national anthem and ended the anthem reciting with slogans of “Inquilab Zindabad”.

January 2020: Advocate-activist Amit Sahni moved a petition in the Delhi High Court seeking removal of the protesters from the Delhi-Noida stretch of the road, as it was blocking traffic. Refusing to pass any direction, the Delhi High Court directed the police to act “in accordance with law, rules and government policies applicable to the facts of the present case”. It asked the police to go as per the “ground reality” and their “wisdom”. The petition then moved the Supreme Court.

January 28: BJP MP Parvesh Verma made a provocative statement saying that if the protesters were not removed from the road in Shaheen Bagh, Delhi will face a “Kashmir-like situation” and protesters “can enter homes and rape our sisters and daughters”. He had also said that if BJP won Delhi assembly elections, no protester would be found at Shaheen Bagh.

January 29: A four month old son of a protester identified as Nazia died due to cold. Nazia boldly told media that she used to bring her infant son to the protest site to be a witness to it. She said that after he had grown up and CAA still continued, he would have questioned her as to what she did for repeal of CAA that made him stateless in his own country.

February 2: A gunman fired two shots near the protest venue, shouting “Jai Shri Ram” and “hamaare desh mein kisi ki nahi chalegi, sirf Hinduon ki chalegi((No one except Hindus will have their way in our country)”. However, no one was injured. The gunman was identified as Kapil Gujjar.

February 3: A petition was filed in the Supreme Court, demanding that the Shaheen Bagh protesters be removed as it is causing inconvenience to people commuting between NOIDA and Delhi.

February 4: Union Minister Anurag Thakur declared that Shaheen Bagh protesters would be removed immediately if the BJP comes to power in Delhi. He had earlier encouraged an election rally to shout slogans of “desh ke gaddron ko, goli maro s****n ko”.

February 18: Supreme Court appointed two senior advocates-Sanjay Hagde and Sadhana Ramchandran-as interlocutors with a mandate to persuade the protesters to end their blockade of the road.

February 24: The interlocutors submitted their report in a sealed cover to the supreme court after holding discussions with the protesters on three different days.

March 17: Protesters limited their gathering to 50 on an order of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, owing to coronavirus threat.

March 22: They observed “Janata curfew” by limiting their gathering to five only in deference to the appeal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

March 24: Police removed the protesters, dismantled the tents and stage, ending 101-day long protest at Shaheen Bagh that had attracted international attention. Police took away the cots and other materials from the site. Also detained five women protesters and three male persons.

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