Nationalist Congress Party leader Majeed Memon on Saturday, February 1, took a jibe at Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad after the Centre extended an olive branch to the people protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act at Shaheen Bagh. Memon said the Government of India has now realised that no words can help them to stop the indefinite protest at Shaheen Bagh. Memon also questioned the Centre's offer of having a dialogue with the protesters.
Speaking to the media Memon said, "The law minister has woken up a little too late. Why he did not do it before. The government of India has now realized that no words were enough for persuading Shaheen Bagh to get up. I am afraid of whether it's a genuine offer. It's not just the Shaheen Bagh whole country is protesting against this unconstitutional act."
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.
The Parliament on December 11 passed the contentious citizenship amendment act. The act seeks to grant citizenship to Sikhs, Parsis, Hindus, Jains, Christians, Buddhists from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The exclusion of Muslims from the act prompted a nationwide protest. After the violence in Jamia Millia Islamia University, Shaheen Bagh protest started spearheaded mostly by women.
The 24x7 movement on Road No. 13A — the 2.5km-long stretch connecting Delhi and Noida, has been closed since December 15 as the protestors demand a full withdrawal of the amended act. While the Shaheen Bagh Coordination Committee Chief Sharjeel Imam, who is now arrested by Delhi police had called off the protests claiming that it had been hijacked by political parties, the protests continued with several inflammatory slogans being raised like 'Jinnah Wali Azadi', as the entire matter became more and more political.