Locals have refused to vacate the protest site at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh and continued their agitation even after a section of protesters, who have been demonstrating against the new Citizenship law for the last 20 days, called off the road blockade on Thursday (January 2) alleging “politicisation” of their “peaceful protest”.
“We have called off the Shaheen Bagh road blockade today to avoid the impending violence from party goons and to avoid politicisation of the stage by parties,” Sharjeel Imam from Shaheen Bagh Coordination Committee said in a statement.
“Police was probably asked not to intervene, because BJP intends to intervene themselves. If that happens, our peaceful protest will be tarnished, and it will break the morale of the people,” he said. Imam said the protesters will work on a “flash mob strategy” used during the Hong Kong protests and spread the agitation across cities.
“We request all of you to stop sending any assistance to this stage which has been now hijacked by political parties, and cash-hungry gangs who don’t care about riots and its implications for the community,” the statement said.
The protesters, including women, who have been camping in the area refused to leave the spot and continued their agitation. Shaheen Bagh, near Jamia Millia Islamia, has been a protest venue for a section of people opposed to the CAA and the NRC since December 15.
Social activist Swami Agnivesh also visited the protest site and appealed to the locals to not end their protest. “This fight for justice should continue. You should keep unity and not end the protest. I will come and sit with you too,” he told protestors.
Besides Delhi, protests have been witnessed across the country over the contentious law.
The amended law seeks to provide Indian citizenship to members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan before December 31, 2014 after facing religious persecution there.
(With inputs from agencies)