Spilt in Shaheen Bagh anti-CAA protesters over talks with SC-appointed interlocutors

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NEW DELHI, February 21: Differences have reportedly appeared among the Shaheen Bagh anti-CAA protesters over talks with the Supreme Court-appointed interlocutors as one faction is pressing for separate talks with the officials. This comes a day after the Supreme Court-appointed interlocutors – Sanjay Hegde and Sadhana Ramachandran – told the Shaheen Bagh protestors that terms and conditions of the talks will be decided by them.
This was one of the conditions for initiating the dialogue with the anti-CAA protestors of Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh. However, ahead of the interlocutors` meeting on Friday, the women protesters sat on a dharna and made it clear that the condition set by the interlocutors for talks is not acceptable to them.
One of the protestors, Mehrunisa, when asked about interlocutors suggesting women can meet them in a group of 20, said that there would be no talks in groups as suggested by Ramchandran. “There would be distrust among the rest who did not meet them in that particular group. Whatever they have to say, they should say it before all of us,” Mehrunisa stated.
Another protester Shakila Begum too became agitated when she was suggested to meet interlocutors in groups. “There would be no talks in groups. We are here with others. And we want everyone to listen to what others have to say, ” Shakila said.
Sadhana Ramachandran, one of the SC-appointed interlocutors, had on Thursday regretted that the panel tried to maintain peace and talk but that didn’t happen. She announced that the mediators will not go to Shaheen Bagh on Friday but 10 women representing the protesters will meet separately in a different place for holding talks..
“We tried to maintain peace but it is not happening. We will not come here tomorrow. Our sisters here should find a place where talks can be held. A few of the women can come to hold talks but others will have to stay outside,” Ramachandran said.
On this, the protesters said that the talks will take place only in Shaheen Bagh and the road will open when the announcement will be made to withdraw Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).
On the matter of opening the road, the protesters have taken the negotiators to show them the alternative routes which have been closed by the police. The SC-appointed panel visited Shaheen Bagh on February 19-20 to hold talks with anti-CAA protesters to persuade them to shift their agitation to an alternate venue but failed to break the deadlock.
In a related development, the road connecting Faridabad to Noida, which was blocked for the last 69 days due to the ongoing protests at Shaheen Bagh was re-opened briefly on Friday morning. However, it was closed again.
Protests have been going on at Shaheen Bagh since December 15 last year against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) due to which Kalindi Kunj road has been shut for traffic movement.
The amended law grants citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Buddhists and Christians fleeing religious persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh and who came to India on or before December 31, 2014. (Zee News)