Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad on Wednesday filed a intervention petition in the Supreme Court in a case for clearing the anti-Citizenship Act protestors from Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh locality, Bar and Bench reported. The Supreme Court had on Monday noted that the protest in the neighbourhood has been underway for a long time, and questioned how the demonstrators could a block a public road for the entire period.
The petition, moved by Azad, former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah and Shaheen Bagh resident Bahadur Abbas Naqvi, alleged that authorities have intentionally put up blockades on various streets – linking Delhi with Noida – to cause inconvenience to commuters. The applicants claimed that “the allegation of road blockade by protestors is just an excuse”.
Scroll.in has mapped the roads in the area and found that the public inconvenience was not just because of the closure of GD Birla Marg, an arterial road that connects Delhi to Noida in Uttar Pradesh. Two alternative routes that could have been used by commuters have been barricaded by Delhi and Uttar Pradesh Police.
While Delhi Police officers claimed the barricades in front of the entry to the alternative routes were just “a security measure”, the Uttar Pradesh Police said they did it because of the Delhi Police’s barricades. “Delhi Police on one side have blocked [the road] and that is why we had to block [it] from our end to direct Noida commuters,” Rajesh S, the Deputy Commissioner of Police for traffic in Noida told Scroll.in. “There is no point in us blocking it.”
Azad’s plea also brought the court’s attention to “collusive acts” of the Delhi administration, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Uttar Pradesh government in blocking the alternative routes that are located away from Shaheen Bagh to “deliberately cause traffic jams for commuters” between Delhi, Noida, and Faridabad. The petition also sought leave from the court to put all the associated facts on record.
On Monday, the Supreme Court had refused to pass any orders without hearing all parties to the case. It had also sent notices to the Delhi government and the Delhi Police and posted the matter for hearing next on February 17.
Shaheen Bagh has become the epicentre of protests against the amended citizenship law and the proposed National Register of Citizens. Hundreds of women have been protesting there since December 15. The Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch in the Capital has been closed since December 15 after protestors began the sit-in. The Bharatiya Janata Party had attempted to portray the Delhi elections as a referendum on the ongoing protests, particularly at Shaheen Bagh.