Interlocutors meet Shaheen Bagh protesters; say, inspired by you

New Delhi: To find a solution for the ongoing Shaheen Bagh protest, the Supreme Court appointed interlocutors, senior lawyers Sanjay Hegde and Sadhna Ramachandran reach Delhi's Shaheen Bagh to talk to the protesters agitating against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR), on Feb 19, 2020. Former CIC Wajahat Habibullah gave a miss to the visit.

New Delhi, The Supreme Court appointed interlocutors on Wednesday reached Shaheen Bagh to meet the protesters. Interacting with the interlocutors, protesters said that if the government is ready to revoke the Citizenship Amendment Act, then we are ready to end out protest.

The protesters also lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. After listening the protesters Sanjay Hegde and lawyer Sadhna said they will come again on Thursday for further talks.

The protesters were waiting for the interlocutors since morning and women were fully prepared to put their issues before the panel. Their collective demand was the revocation of the CAA and National Register of Citizens. Also, they were demanding compensation or pension for the people who got injured during the scuffle with police.

According to the source, the protesters had called a meeting at 3 a.m. to discuss that how to put things before the panel.

Before the interlocutors reached the spot, the administration called media persons to meet the protesters. However, the journalists later came to know that the panel does not want to interact with the protesters before the media but the protesters announced it from the stage that they will talk only in presence of the media persons.

However, the protesters put a condition before the media that no one will ask any question but will only listen the conversation between them and interlocutors. Thereafter, lawyers Hegde and Sadhna reached the spot.

Hegde started the conversation by reading the Supreme Court’s order. Following the reading, Sadhna told the protesters that we are here to find out a solution and create an example for the country.

“We are not here to take any decision but to hold a dialogue as it is you right. We will listen every ‘grandmother’, child and woman,” Sadhna said.

“Just revoke the law, untill then we won’t open the road,” an old woman replied. The police have closed the road from three sides, she added.

“When we are here and no one is ready to listen us, and if we shift from here than who will listen to us,” a woman protester questioned. “Now the conditions is that we are not allowed to sit on even roads,” she added.

The woman said: “If we quit this protest it will weaken the protesters across the country. It will weaken their strength.”

“We have responsibilities of our families, still we are here to save the Constitution and our rights,” the protester said. “If we are supposed to come on roads to save the Constitution so we are here on roads”.

The protesters also targeted Shah and Modi.

“Our Home Minister says that press the button (EVM’s button) to deliver current to Shaheen Bagh. The Prime Minister says that we could be identified with our cloths. Are we not that worthy that the government should talks to us? We have example of Assam where a person gave 37 years of his life to the Army and his name was excluded from the list,” a protester said.

Another woman said: “Is this not happening for the elections and increase the votes? Is Amit Shah not playing with us? Earlier, he used to say that I am ready to meet but we did not get time to meet”.

A woman protester got emotional saying that we could not sleep, we could not study. Whenever we open the TV, someone seen raising question on us and calling us terrorists.

On the question of opening the road, a woman said: “People are facing a traffic jam only for two hours but if we open the road and quit the protest then our whole future will be put on stake. Our next generation would spend their whole life proving themselves Indian.”

“The government says ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ (all together, grow together) but we could see only ‘sabka vinas’ (everyone’s destruction). We will say that if people are facing problem because of us so the Supreme Court should give us death as per the Constitution,” a protester said.

“They are trying to defame us by saying that we take Rs 500 everyday to sit here, we eat biryani. I would just say that we are protesting but not sitting on hunger strike. We would eat what we wish,” said another woman.

After holding a long conversation, the panel said that we are inspired by you. If your kind of “daughters” are there then how India will be in danger. After listening you, now we are returning, we have time till Sunday. We will come tomorrow (on Thursday) again.

Soon after Hegde and Sadhna left, former Chief Election Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah reached the site. Talking to the protesters he said I am here as your well wisher. You can put you grievance before both the Supreme Court lawyers and me as well. I will forward it to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court on Monday had appointed a team of three interlocutors to be led by senior advocate Sanjay Hegde to talk to the Shaheen Bagh protesters in connection with shifting the protest venue, and file a report in the court.