Why Violence at Peaceful Anti-CAA Protests in Delhi Day Before Supreme Court Hearing?
NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 24— The Supreme Court of India is scheduled to hear petitions against road blockade near the Shaheen Bagh anti-CAA protest today (Monday) but Sunday evening witnessed violence at some anti-CAA protest sites in other parts of the national capital, raising some suspicion.
Besides the Shaheen Bagh, there are similar round-the-clock anti-CAA protest at dozen-odd other places in Delhi. One of them is at Hauz Rani area in South Delhi. Media reports say police allegedly opened lathi-charge on the protesters Sunday evening, leading to injuries to several women. In more than one videos viral on social media, young and middle-aged women are seen on stretchers at the local Madan Malviya Hospital, showing their injuries in the leg and foot. Women-led protest has been going on completely peacefully in the Gandhi Park in Hauz Rani area for past several weeks. Police claimed protesters took out march Sunday evening for which they had not taken permission and some of the protesters allegedly misbehaved with women cops. Injured women said they have been taking out march every Sunday evening.
In northeast Delhi, violence took place near another anti-CAA protest site. Pro and anti-CAA protesters clashed and police fired teargas shells to disperse the crowd.
According to reports, the clash took place when a BJP leader reached the anti-CAA protest site near Jafrabad metro station where women, children and men had started sit-in below the metro station since last night. Jafrabad Metro Station connects Jafrabad with Seelampur on one side and Maujpur on the other side. The violence took place at Maujpur area. Social media videos show two opposite groups pelting stones on each other.
In another video, BJP leader Kapil Mishra was seen threatening protesters in the presence of police. He went ahead to tell his supporters that he would be peaceful till the completion of the visit of US President Donald Trump. He gave a three-day “ultimatum” to the police to clear the roads in the area or else, he said, they would have to hit the streets.
“Three days’ ultimatum for Delhi Police - clear the roads in Jaffrabad and Chand Bagh. After this, don't make us understand. We won't listen to you. Three days,” Mishra tweeted in Hindi, along with a video of him speaking the same.
Now the obvious question is: why this sudden eruption of violence on the eve of the Supreme Court hearing?
Rights activist Ovais Sultan Khan said although Mishra’s supporters started throwing stones, pelting in retaliation should have been avoided. “No matter what the provocation, they should not have done that. It will send a wrong signal, especially since the Supreme Court will hear the pleas against the protest at Shaheen Bagh tomorrow (Monday),” Khan was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.
Last Monday (Feb 17), the top court had appointed a mediation panel to talk to Shaheen Bagh protesters for clearance of the Delhi-Noida road. Mediators -- senior lawyers Sanjay Hegde and Sadhana Ramachandran and former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah talked to the protesters.
Habibullah filed an affidavit in the top court on Sunday in which he reportedly said that the Shaheen Bagh protest site is the confluence of different faiths, the protesters are completely peaceful and most of the roads around the venue were blocked by the police, not the protesters.
Since December 15 last year, hundreds of people, mostly women, of this Muslim-dominated locality on Delhi-Noida highway in south Delhi, have been holding round-the-clock sit-in against CAA and central government’s plan for National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).