The Delhi Police on Sunday denied Shaheen Bagh protesters permission to march to Amit Shah's residence, asking them to secure an appointment first.
In a letter to the protesters, the New Delhi district police said the march will pass through two other districts and a request in this regard has been sent to the police headquarters for further appropriate actions.
Police said they had asked the protesters at Shaheen Bagh to give the details of the delegation for its meeting with Shah. In a written response, the protesters said 4,000 to 5,000 demonstrators will march towards Shah's residence.
— ANI (@ANI) February 16, 2020
According to media reports, the permission was later denied after the application was received by the Delhi Police headquarters. Reports have further said that the delegation accepted the decision and returned to the protest site.
Responding to Shah's open invitation for discussions on amended citizenship law, protesters at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi had announced that they would rally till the Union minister's residence at Krishna Menon Marg. The march from Shaheen Bagh, the epicenter of anti-CAA protests in Delhi, to Shah's residence commenced at 2 pm.
Earlier today, the Delhi Police has reached out to the protesters asking them to form a delegation which will meet Shah on Sunday.
However, the proposal was rejected with the protesters dismissing any "intermediaries". They have demanded to speak to the home minister directly, News18 reported.
Protesters were expected to voice their demands, with the primary one being withdrawal of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). They have also demanded that the National Population Register (NPR) exercise be immediately stopped and the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) stand cancelled.
The Indian Express quoted a protester as saying, "No representatives but everyone, who has a problem with CAA would be sharing their demands with Amit Shah." However, home ministry officials told news agency PTI that they did not receive any request for an appointment to discuss issues related to anti-CAA protests.
On Thursday, Shah said he was open to discussions with anyone, including protesters at Shaheen Bagh. "I want to say that they (Shaheen Bagh protesters) should ask for time from my office. Within three days, I will give time. I have said I will meet anyone, but nobody wants to discuss," Shah said at the Times Now summit.
A section of Shaheen Bagh protesters on Saturday said they were ready to meet the home minister to raise concerns over the new citizenship law, but added that the onus was on the government to call them for talks.
"We are ready to meet the home minister. But he should make it clear how many people he wants to meet," PTI quoted Syed Ahmed Taseer, one of the protesters, as saying.
Mehrunnisa, who has been a regular at the protest, said the protesters would march to the home minister's residence on Sunday. "We will ask him to withdraw CAA-NRC-NPR," she said, adding that the protest would continue till their demand was met.
Protests had erupted in Shaheen Bagh, Zakir Nagar, Jamia Nagar, Khureji Khas and other places in the National Capital and elsewhere across the country in December, 2019, to oppose the CAA and the NRC.
According to the CAA, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till 31 December, 2014 and facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but will be given Indian citizenship. The law excludes Muslims.
Those opposing the law alleged that the CAA along with the NRC is intended to target the Muslim community. However, the Centre has dismissed the allegations, maintaining that the law is intended to give citizenship to persecuted people from the three neighbouring countries and not to take away citizenship from anyone.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Feb 16, 2020 16:30:11 IST