In a significant come-down in one aspect of the months-long political unrest in the country, the protesters at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi have dwindled, visuals from Thursday have revealed.
Furthermore, as per sources at what remains of the protest, the exodus has little to do with the Coronavirus, and has everything to do with the fact that the media partners who had so thronged the venue earlier have stopped visiting. Speaking to Republic, one protestor who remained said that a Hindi news channel that used to send up to seven anchors to the protest isn't sending even a single reporter anymore.
What's more, even the regular serving of food at the venue - Biryani specifically - has been disrupted. Whereas there once used to be chants of 'Azadi' with gusto before, on Thursday afternoon, there were less than a couple of dozen people at the location, vastly outnumbered by the security officials posted there to ensure their safety.
Days after the Parliament passed the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, Delhi's Shaheen Bagh became a site for protests comprising mainly women, with the regular attendance of political persons such as netas of the Congress party like Mani Shankar Aiyar, Shashi Tharoor and others.
With the road blockages on account of Shaheen Bagh becoming a daily nuisance for the residents of Delhi, the Supreme Court intervened and appointed interlocutors in an effort to move the protest to another venue more suited for such a purpose. Five days of the mediation between Supreme Court-appointed interlocutors Sadhana Ramachandran and Sanjay Hegde to persuade them on shifting the protest site did not result in any breakthrough. A delegation of Shaheen Bagh women protestors who met Ramachandran set seven conditions ranging for the demand of protection if the road is reopened to no NPR in Delhi to revocation of cases against student protestors.
On March 3, Supreme Court-appointed interlocutors issued a formal statement discussing the future course of action. Mentioning that the SC had directed them to resume the dialogue, the interlocutors stated that this was the second phase of interactions.