Shaheen Bagh protesters want SC-monitored security before opening of adjoining stretch
New Delhi: After more than 65 days of what is widely being accepted as the longest sit-in protest across the globe at Delhi's Shaheen Bagh, the Uttar Pradesh Police on Friday partially reopened a stretch of the Mahamaya Flyover connecting Delhi to Noida and Faridabad to allow traffic on the route. Both the UP Police and Delhi Police had barricaded the road from December 15 when the protest had begun on the Shaheen Bagh stretch of Kalindi Kunj Road.
However, this is not the road where the protests are going on. The route that was briefly opened up on Friday was one of the alternate routes that were blocked by law enforcement agencies in light of securing the protesters from dangerous elements. The Noida-Kalindi Kunj Road was also opened up twice during the day. As per reports, the route was first opened on early Friday morning for passing a few Kanwariyas and their truck which was closed. Later at around 11:30 am, the route was again opened for an ambulance which was ferrying a deceased from Noida to Delhi. However, several commuters also made their way and traffic cops were seen helpless. Senior Noida police officials said the route was opened temporarily and has now been closed again.
Meanwhile, on the second day of mediation, the SC-appointed interlocutors met the women of Shaheen Bagh, who demanded that police should assure them of security in writing if any of the alternate routes are opened up. The two interlocutors came to the protest site at Shaheen Bagh at 6:15 pm and straightway went amidst the women protesters giving the stage a miss. Advocate Sadhna Ramachandran asked if the road which is adjacent to the protest site can be opened? "We are sceptical. If the other road is opened it could be a threat to the protesters," said one of the women protesters.
The interlocutors then called Shaheen Bagh SHO Vijay Pal to know if the other road could be opened up. "We will provide you security if the other road is opened," said the SHO. However, the protesters said despite police barricading, a shooter had managed to sneak in an open fire. The protesters later wanted a written assurance for their security.
"If the road adjacent to the protest site is opened and if anything happens here, the Commissioner of Police along with the lower hierarchy should be held accountable. We want the Supreme Court-monitored security here," said a woman protester. Senior advocate Sanjay Hegde said: "This is not about opening a road. This is about opening the doors of the heart, if you open it, you could see several other ways opening."
Sadhna said: "On Thursday, we went to inspect the blocked roads. We realised that not all roads were closed by you. We urged the police that the road from Noida to Faridabad could be opened. The stretch was partially opened but was closed after we left. We will take this to court."
Sanjay Hegde assured the protesters that they will take their concerns to the Supreme Court. The mediators left and would return on Saturday to resume talks.