For the first time, the Centre has extended an olive branch to the people protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act at Shaheen Bagh in the national capital. On Saturday, Union Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad stated that the government was ready to initiate a structured dialogue with the protesters. He noted that this could pave way for the people to clear their misgivings about the CAA.
Many BJP leaders have cast aspersions over the Shaheen Bagh protest alleging that it has the tacit backing of Congress and AAP. However, the worst remark was perhaps made by BJP Lok Sabha MP Parvesh Verma on January 28 who contended that the people gathering at the Shaheen Bagh protests had the potential to rape and kill women. Maintaining that both Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, as well as his deputy Manish Sisodia, had extended their support to Shaheen Bagh, he warned the voters in the national capital to make a conscious choice in the upcoming Delhi Assembly elections. Subsequently, the Election Commission of India barred Verma from campaigning for 4 days.
Parvesh Verma said, “Arvind Kejriwal also says that I am with Shaheen Bagh. Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister also says that I am with Shaheen Bagh. The people of Delhi know that the fire that was lit in Kashmir whereby the daughters and sisters of Kashmiri Pandits were raped, after which it spread to UP, Kerala, Hyderabad- today, this fire has been lit in a corner of Delhi. There, lakhs of people gather and that fire can reach the homes of Delhi. The people of Delhi will have to make an informed decision. These people will enter your house, will kidnap your sisters and daughters and rape and kill them."
On January 21, Anil Baijal- the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi met a delegation of Shaheen Bagh protesters in the presence of senior officers of the Delhi police. While the L-G assured the delegation that their concerns would be taken up with appropriate authorities, he urged them to maintain law and order. Moreover, he urged the protesters to call off their agitation as the blocking of roads was causing inconvenience to people.