SC-appointed mediators reach Shaheen Bagh for second round of talks with protesters, insist on media leaving before discussion

The Supreme Court-appointed interlocutors reached Shaheen Bagh on Thursday to initiate the second round of discussion, but they insisted that the media should not be present during the talks with protestors.

Press Trust of India February 20, 2020 17:31:53 IST
SC-appointed mediators reach Shaheen Bagh for second round of talks with protesters, insist on media leaving before discussion
  • The protestors said that they wanted to present their issues before the media, but journalists were asked to leave

  • Ramachandran began addressing the protestors saying, 'Aapne bulaya hum chale aaye (You called us and we are here)'

New Delhi: The Supreme Court-appointed interlocutors met Shaheen Bagh protestors on Thursday in their second visit to the site where people have been on a sit-in since the last two months against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Advocates Sanjay Hedge and Sadhana Ramachandran, the appointed interlocutors, were not willing to start the discussion in the presence of the media.

The protestors said that they wanted to present their issues before the media, but journalists were asked to leave.

Ramachandran began addressing the protestors saying, "Aapne bulaya hum chale aaye (You called us and we are here)".

"We have to think over it and talk in detail. We are thankful that yesterday we received blessings from all dadis (the elderly ladies protesting at the site)," she said.

The two interlocutors on Wednesday visited Shaheen Bagh to initiate talks with the protesters, asserting that the top court has upheld their right to protest but it should not affect the rights of other citizens.

On Monday, the Supreme Court observed that the blockade of the road at Shaheen Bagh was "troubling" and suggested the protesters go to another site where no public place would be blocked. It, however, upheld their right to protest.

The apex court also asked Hegde to "play a constructive role as an interlocutor" to persuade the protesters to move to an alternative site. It said the interlocutors could seek former bureaucrat Wajahat Habibullah's assistance. Hegde said the apex court has recognised their right to protest.

"When Shaheen Bagh has become become an example of protests in India, let us set an example of a protest that does not disturb anybody. You all must be rest assured that we are here to fight for you. Don't think if you change your spot, your fight will die down," Hegde told the protestors.

The senior lawyer said, "We have seen many prime ministers come and go. Whoever comes in power and runs the country, sometimes some could be right and some could be wrong. Whatever you are saying the whole country is listening and also the prime minister ." The protestors have been demanding repeal of the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Ramchandran said she was "really waiting" for that day when the "country's atmosphere will change".

An elderly man also expressed his fear about his children's security. "I am very scared... I am very scared for my children. Madam save me," he said. When Ramchandran asked him more about his fear, the man replied, "I am a single father. I will die and go but my children should get to live here with authority. My girls go to school where they are being told that you will go out of the country."

Ramchandran told protestors not to cry and speak openly.

Another man, while talking to the interlocutors, said, "I have a national flag on my bicycle. We love this country and stop calling us traitors."  His daughter told mediators, "I am a young girl and I want a beautiful India".

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