The government should not force or coerce the people who are sitting peacefully at Shaheen Bagh to protect their fundamental rights.
By Rakesh Raman
There is a yawning communications gap between the mediators appointed by the Supreme Court and the protesters at Shaheen Bagh. The court-appointed agents – advocates Sanjay Hegde and Sadhana Ramachandran – are hell-bent to get the protest road vacated. But the protesters were expecting them to only discuss about the cruelty of the discriminatory citizenship laws announced by the government.
The agents – who visited the Shaheen Bagh for the second day today – also issued veiled threats to the protesters saying that if they did not vacate the road, Supreme Court can even order the government to get it cleared for the commuters by using force.
One of the agents even reiterated the demand to have direct conversation with only a few protesters by driving out the media people. In order to entice the dissenting people, the advocates said illogically if they shift to some other place, the Supreme Court will have a favorable view of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) case.
But the protesters retorted by saying that they cannot trust the court which fails to properly investigate the cases related to the mysterious deaths of the judges such as Judge Loya who had died in mysterious circumstances.
It is alleged that Loya – who was presiding over Soharabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case in which Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Amit Shah was an accused – was murdered. Now Amit Shah is India’s Home Minister in the government headed by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi.
The protesters argued that they are sitting only on a 150-meter-long road and allowing the vehicles such as school buses and ambulances to pass without any hindrance; while the government has deliberately blocked long routes around the protest site to harm their struggle.
It is usually seen in all parts of India including Delhi that the government frequently blocks much longer roads in affluent areas where politicians and bureaucrats live. And the commuters never complain.
Therefore, if a small area in Shaheen Bagh is occupied by the peaceful protesters, the government and the Supreme Court – which usually works under government’s tacit directions – should not get it vacated.
Moreover, Shaheen Bagh is not just some location in the city. Rather, today Shaheen Bagh has become the symbol of a democratic expression in the country. It is inspiring millions of other people who have set up their own Shaheen Baghs in different parts of India.
Therefore, the government should not force or coerce the people who are sitting peacefully at Shaheen Bagh to protect their fundamental rights. Rather, the Shaheen Bagh protest should become a model for other future protests against the cruel decisions of the government.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been protesting in India for the past couple of months against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR), and National Register of Citizens (NRC) announced by the Modi government.
While the Shaheen Bagh protesters have refused to vacate the site, it will be major defeat for them if they moved to some other place under the pressure from the government’s agents. The Supreme Court-appointed agents are supposed to submit their report after a week – by February 24.
DISCLOSURE: I am an independent journalist and do not belong to any political party. My editorial objectivity and aversion to the flawed political system in India can be assessed from the fact that I have not voted in any Indian election during the past more than 2 decades. I strongly believe that all political parties in India are full of dishonest politicians who are hell-bent to further destroy the country which exists merely as an underdeveloped piece of land on the face of the earth.
By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society. He also creates and publishes a number of digital publications and research reports on different subjects.
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