After Shashi Tharoor, Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar turned up at Shaheen Bagh on the day when Delhi Police is likely to hold a meeting with the protestors on an indefinite sit-in, in a bid to clear the road-blockade. According to ANI sources, Delhi Police will hold talks before exhausting other measures at their disposal.
The Congress leader, during his address, extended his gratitude to the women of Shaheen Bagh who have braved all odds to sit on the protest against the government over the contentious Citizenship Amended Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC). In his address, Aiyar claimed that CAA was brought-in to trouble the people and questioned the government's motive and intent behind the Act.
He said, "To distract your attention from their shortcomings, they are bringing in CAA, NRC. But the women of Shaheen Baug are more intelligent than them. You have shown them, we cannot be cheated. I would like to extend my gratitude. You came out by yourself, and you said we don't need a politician or political party. You came out, leaving your homes and families, and sitting here for the past 30 days because we are the citizens of this country. It is our right because we are from here. What is their right, that you are asking us to produce proof? You are Indians because you belong to India. And nobody has a right to ask you who was your grandfather, where was he born."
"Their thought is not the population of India, not at all. In that case, we would be willing to do it. Their motive is to trouble you. 80% Hindus are not being asked, this is their motive. I want to congratulate you on understanding, acknowledging their motive and their ways. You have come here, with your kids, and why? Just to prove that we are Indians. Why should we answer, who are you to ask us if we are Indians? You have told them, that we all are Indians. All religions live together in this country. I would like to extend my gratitude and congratulate you all," the Congress leader added.
On January 12, Congress senior leader and MP Shashi Tharoor visited Shaheen Bagh area, and called the protesting women the "pride of the city." For a month now, women of Shaheeh Bagh have staged a sit-in to protest against CAA. The indefinite protest continues day in and out and has attracted a massive crowd.
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday said the police have the power to control traffic wherever protests are going on and directed it to look into a plea against restrictions on Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch which has been closed for a month due to agitations against the CAA. A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said however that no direction can be issued by the court on how to handle an agitation or the place of protest and the traffic as it depends on the ground reality and the wisdom of police.
The court asked the police to look into the issue of traffic restrictions while also keeping in mind that law and order is maintained. The Kalindi Kunj stretch is vital as it connects Delhi, Faridabad (Haryana) and Noida (Uttar Pradesh) and commuters are forced to take the Delhi-Noida-Delhi (DND) Expressway and Ashram, which is causing hours of traffic jams and wastage of time and fuel, the plea said.
The bench said it ought to be kept in mind that whenever any agitation or protest is going on, the situation is as fluid, it keeps on changing looking to the temperament of the protestors and resistances by other people. The court said: "We hereby direct the concerned respondent authorities (police) to look into the grievances ventilated by the petitioner in this writ petition... about the restrictions on usage of the road which is known as Kalindi Kunj- Shaheen Bagh Stretch, that is, Road No.13 A (between Mathura Road and Kalindi Kunj) as well as Okhla underpass, and will react in accordance with law, rules, regulations and the government policies applicable to the facts of the present case." "Simultaneously, police has to maintain the law and order. Hence, the respondents have all power, jurisdiction and authority to control the traffic, wherever protests or agitations are going on, in the larger public interest.
"In such a situation, no specific writ, order or direction can be issued by this court as to how to handle the agitation or protest or the place of protest and the traffic. It all depends upon the ground reality and the wisdom of the police, where the situation may keep on changing every 10 minutes," the bench said. The high court, on January 10, had refused to entertain an application, in the form of letter, seeking directions for removal of demonstrators protesting the CAA at Shaheen Bagh here in order to clear road blockages that are causing traffic congestions at the DND route.