Congress' Mani Shankar Aiyar, in a telephonic conversation, revealed to Republic that he was in Pakistan's Lahore, days prior to addressing the indefinite Shaheen Bagh sit-in at New Delhi. He admitted that he returned from Pakistan on the 13th of this month. In Lahore, speaking at a session on "Is Liberal Democracy Dead?" Mani Shankar Aiyar accentuated the need for India to act carefully under the current emerging circumstances. He spoke how Hindutva, a recently emerged concept, had captured India in 2014. Further stating that the women and students of India are resisting it. He lauded the all-women protest of Shaheen Bagh at the event.
The Congress leader said, "I went there a few days back. I came from Pakistan on the 13th. Yes, I visited Lahore." Republic accessed a video dated January 13, which does hint at Aiyar participating in an event in Lahore. In the past, Aiyar has once again been accused of making anti-BJP statements on Pakistan soil.
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."
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.