Section 144 CrPC Enforced in Shaheen Bagh, Drones Survey Rooftops, Huge Police Force Deployed, Crowd at Protest Site Swells
Syed Khalique Ahmed | India Tomorrow
NEW DELHI, MARCH 1—A large number of people, particularly youth and women, rushed to Shaheen Bagh protest site after the government imposed prohibitory measures under Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code around the Shaheen Bagh area where protests against CAA, NRC and NPR entered 78th day today. Shaheen Bagh has become the epicenter of anti-CAA protest in the country.
Prohibitory orders ban assembly of four or more persons at a place.
Police also closed all the exit and entry point to NOIDA and Jaitpur/Madanpur Khadar from the Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh road junction since morning today owing to the threat from the Hindu Sena that had announced to march to Shaheen Bagh and remove anti-CAA protesters by force.
Police are not allowing even pedestrians to walk from Kalindi Kunj to NOIDA or Madanpur Khadar and from Madanpur Khadar/Jaitpur to Kalindi Kunj which is adjacent to Shaheen Bagh protest site. These road were earlier opened for vehicular traffic after the intervention of a Supreme Court-appointed panel a few days ago.
When asked why they have banned even pedestrians from this stretch of the road, a senior police official near kalindi Kunj Park said, “We have taken the measure to maintain law and order situation”. He did not say anything further.
However, police kept Kalindi Kunj-Pethapur road, in front of the Kalindu Kunj Metro Station, open for movement of vehicular traffic. But a huge posse of armed police was deployed at the tri-junction of Kalindi Kunj, NOIDA bridge and Madanpur Khadar in the wake of threat from Hindu Sena.
However, Hindu Sena members did not come to Shaheen Bagh as BJP MLA Ramvir Singh Biduri, who is also leader of Opposition in the newly elected Delhi Assembly, announced on Saturday that the programme to march to Shaheen Bagh had been cancelled as of now and Home Minister Amit Shah was in touch with the authorities handling the Shaheen Bagh issue.
However, on the request of the police, Shaheen Bagh protesters have stopped using amplifiers for their speeches. “We have decided not to use amplifiers for today on the request of the police”, said one of the protest organisers who refused to be named.
A tense situation had developed around 12.30 pm when half a dozen armed police arrived near the protest site to ask the protesters not to use mike. “A large number of youths surrounded the policemen as the youths suspected they had come to remove the protesters by force”, said one of the youths. He said that youths had seen on videos how the police had allegedly collaborated with the mob in attacks on Muslims in Maujpur, Jafrabad, Shiv Vihar, Chand Bagh and other areas.
Some of the protesters said that they had seen drones flying over Shaheen Bagh early Sunday morning, perhaps to reconnaissance the terraces if stones or some other materials were stored on rooftops which were used to attack each other in northeast Delhi. However, police officials on the ground in Shaheen Bagh expressed their ignorance about drones flying over the area.
An old man at the protest site said that they feared the government wanted to remove the anti-CAA protesters from Shaheen Bagh like they have done at Jafrabad, Khureji and some other places in the national capital so that the people gave up their demand for repeal of the hostile CAA. He said that Section 144 was promulgated where there was apprehension of disturbances or breakdown of law and order. “But the protest in Shaheen Bagh are going on peacefully for the last 78 days. There is no need of Section 144 here. If somebody is threatening the protesters like Hindu Sena, it is the job of the police to handle them and prevent them from coming to Shaheen Bagh. As for we protesters, we will continue to sit here till CAA is withdrawn. And government knows very well our intention that we are here seeking scrapping of CAA and nothing else”, said the protester.
“But the intention of the government is not good. Its hands are clearly visible in northeast Delhi riots. BJP, Bajrang Dal and RSS are provoking people to go for riots”, he alleged, adding that “the BJP government wants to stop anti-CAA protests by hook or crook because the protest across the country is sending a wrong message all over the world about the country”.
Meanwhile, the ‘langar’ or the community meal without payment started by the Sikh community continues at Shaheen Bagh, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner to the protesters and others coming to the venue.