The Delhi Police on Friday appealed to people protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act at Shaheen Bagh to cooperate and help clear the Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch in the city in the “larger public interest”.
For over a month now, hundreds of women and men have occupied the stretch of road at Shaheen Bagh to protest against the amended citizenship law. The traffic restrictions have led to huge bottlenecks in and around the Delhi-Noida Direct Flyway.
“We appeal to agitators at Road No 13 A Shaheen Bagh to understand the sufferings that the complete highway blockade is causing to residents of Delhi and National Capital Region, senior citizens, emergency patients and school going children,” the police tweeted. “The matter has also come up before the hon’ble High Court.”
“We again urge protesters to cooperate and clear the road in larger public interest,” the police added.
On Tuesday, the Delhi High Court directed the police to “look into the grievances ventilated by the petitioner” while also keeping in mind “the larger public interest as well as the maintenance of law and order”.
“In such a situation, no specific writ, order or direction can be issued by this court as to how to handle the agitation or protest or the place of protest and the traffic,” the order had said. “It all depends on the ground reality and wisdom of the police, where situations may keep changing every 10 minutes.”
The Citizenship Amendment Act, notified on January 10, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised and sparked protests for excluding Muslims. At least 26 people died in protests against the legislation last month.