Supreme Court-appointed mediators on Monday submitted their report on the ongoing anti-Citizenship Act protests in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh locality to the top court in a sealed cover, reported PTI. The court had appointed the mediators last week to convince the protestors to move their demonstration elsewhere.
One of the mediators, advocate Sadhna Ramachandran, presented the report before a bench of Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph. The bench noted the submission and listed the matter for further hearing on Wednesday. The judges also declared that the interlocutors’ report will not be shared with petitioners and lawyers associated with the plea on Shaheen Bagh protests, according to Bar and Bench.
The protest, which has been going on since December 15 and is led by women and children, has been challenged in the Supreme Court by petitioners claiming that the demonstrators have blocked traffic. On Monday, the top court appointed senior lawyers Ramachandran and Sanjay Hegde as mediators, and told them to consult with former Chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities Wajahat Habibullah.
Habibullah, who had accompanied the two interlocutors to the protest site on February 19, also filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court on Sunday. “There are numerous number of roads that have no connection with the protest that have been barricaded by the police unnecessarily, abdicating their responsibilities and duties and wrongly laying the blame on the protest,” his affidavit said.
He also asked for the names of those responsible for taking such a decision, and described the protests as peaceful and beautiful.
The protestors have occupied a stretch of GD Birla Marg – an arterial road connecting Delhi and Noida – which still remains closed. Residents of nearby localities have complained that the blockade is causing them inconvenience, and commuters on this route claim it has added to their travel time.
Scroll.in has mapped the roads in the area and found that the public inconvenience was not merely because of the closure of GD Birla Marg. Two alternative routes that could have been used by commuters have been barricaded by Delhi and the Uttar Pradesh police. The traffic could have passed through the narrower Kalindi Kunj-Mithapur Road that runs parallel to GD Birla Marg, and could have functioned as an alternative route. However, Uttar Pradesh Police have blocked access to this road by placing barricades around the Kalindi Kunj Bridge that connects Uttar Pradesh to Delhi.
Meanwhile, the blocked stretch was reopened for a brief period in the last two days. On Saturday, a section of protestors in Shaheen Bagh opened the road for a short while but another group of protestors closed it soon after. On Friday too, the Uttar Pradesh Police had reopened a road connecting Noida and Faridabad for about 40 minutes in an effort to ease heavy traffic congestion between Delhi and Noida due to the ongoing protest.