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Let's resolve issue together: SC mediators meet protesters at Shaheen Bagh

Lets resolve issue together: SC mediators meet protesters at Shaheen Bagh

A two-member mediation panel appointed by the Supreme Court on Wednesday reached Delhi's Shaheen Bagh to persuade anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protesters to end their blockade of a public road.

Two advocates, Sanjay Hegde and Sadhana Ramachandran, were appointed as interlocutors by the apex court on Monday after it acknowledged people's right to protest.

"We have come here according to the order of Supreme Court. We hope to speak to everyone. We hope to resolve the matter with everybody's cooperation," Advocate Sanjay Hegde was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Reading out the Supreme Court order, Ramachandran told protesters, "The Supreme Court order acknowledges your (people's) right to protest, however, this agitation is leading to a blockade. It is causing disruption in people's daily lives and as much as it is your right to protest, it is also their right to conduct their life without interruption. As a country, we must respect each other's rights. We should resolve this issue together and should become a global example."

A bench of Justice S K Kaul and K M Joseph had observed that one set of people taking to public roads to air their grievance can inspire others which will ultimately lead to chaos. Democracy, the judges said, is about expression of views but "there are lines and boundaries" for it.

"Certain section of society is aggrieved by a legislation which is being tested in this court. We are not saying that despite pendency of matter, people will not have the right to air their grievance or protest. Question arising is where to protest… Whether traffic can be managed better here or there is not the question. It cannot be a place like this. If today some people, tomorrow some other people may do it. Different portions of city can be blocked by people who may have their grievance…. If everyone starts coming on road, you know Delhi…It will lead to chaos," Justice S K Kaul had said.

Hearing two PILs — one by Advocate Amit Sahni and another by Delhi BJP leader Nand Kishore Garg — which highlighted difficulties on account of protesters occupying a road in Shaheen Bagh, the bench had said the way out could be for someone to try and convince the agitators to move out, may be to an identified location. It had asked Delhi Police to suggest alternatives.

However, those on the ground said Tuesday that while they were open to speak with the authorities, they have no plans of giving up. Sitting on a cot, Mehrunisa (60) said, "Why don't people understand our issues? If the Centre agrees to remove CAA, we will stop protesting. Rather than solving the issue, they are busy removing us from here."

The court will hear the matter next on February 24.

(Inputs from The Indian Express)

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