The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has departed from its earlier stand on Shaheen Bagh and now claims that the anti-CAA protests were ‘scripted’ by the BJP with an eye on the assembly polls held earlier this year.
Before the Delhi assembly polls, Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia had remarked that he was ‘with the people of Shaheen Bagh.’ So, today’s statement is a complete departure from what AAP has been maintaining so far.
Addressing a press conference on Monday (August 17), AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said, “On Monday, a group of Muslims had joined the BJP. Over 50 of them were from Shaheen Bagh.” He further said, “The topmost leadership of the BJP scripted each and every step of the protest. They decided who will say what, who will attack whom and who is going to do the counter-attack.”
A large number of students, civil society members, artistes had joined hundreds of women from Shaheen Bagh and nearby localities, which blocked the Delhi-Noida link road between February 14 and March 24 in protest against the proposed National Register (NPR) of Citizens and the Citizens Amendment Act (CAA).
Bharadwaj raised suspicion as to how the Delhi police, which “does not allow protests by students, teachers, farmers” allowed “a group of 10 women to effect the blockade.”
One of those who joined the BJP on Sunday was one Shahzad Ali, a member of the Rashtriya Ulama Council. The BJP has said Ali was a “Shaheen Bagh social activist” — a claim disputed by volunteers of the protest, which was withdrawn on March 24 after the imposition of the national COVID lockdown.
Shaheen Bagh is part of the Okhla assembly constituency, which was won by AAP’s Amanatullah Khan by over 70,000 votes, defeating BJP’s Braham Singh.