Rights

Shaheen Bagh Protest to Continue on 'Janata Curfew'; PIL Filed in SC

A petition filed in the top court seeks the removal of the site, where women have been protesting against the CAA for nearly 100 days, as it could aid the spread of the coronavirus infection.

New Delhi: The women protesters in Shaheen Bagh will continue with their protest on Sunday, the day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged people to remain inside their houses under a self-imposed curfew.

The women have been blocking a side of a road connecting southeast Delhi to Noida since mid-December to protest against the amended citizenship law.

On Monday, the Delhi government said gatherings with more than 50 people were not allowed in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The size of gatherings has since been reduced to 20 people.

“It also applies to Shaheen Bagh,” chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had said.

The protesters on Friday told news agency PTI that not more than 50 women had been staging a protest at any given time.

Also read: Calling the Protest Off Will Not Dent Shaheen Bagh or Its Legacy

“On Sunday, we will sit under small tents (at the protest site). Only two women will sit under each tent and maintain a distance of more than a metre between them,” a protester who did not wish to be named said.

Another protester, Rizvana, said the women had been taking every precaution and they were covered in burqa all the time.

“Washing hands regularly is part of our lifestyle. We offer namaz five times a day and we wash our hands every time,” she said.

Ritu Kushik, another protester, said women aged above 70 and children aged less than 10 were not being allowed at the protest site.

“The women are not sitting on the mattresses anymore. Cots have been placed and there’s a minimum distance of three metres between every two cots. Not more than two women can sit on a cot,” he said.

Taseer Ahmad, one of the key organisers, said sanitisers and masks had been arranged in enough numbers, and the protest site was being disinfected at regular intervals.

Meanwhile, another petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking that the Shaheen Bagh protest be removed, as it could result in community transmission of the coronavirus. According to Bar and Bench, the petition, filed by advocate Ashutosh Dubey, cites the health ministry’s advisory which asks people to avoid mass gatherings.

The petitioner has asserts that there is a need for the immediate intervention of the court in the matter, emphasising that if the spread of coronavirus reaches the third stage (community transmission), the situation would get out of hand.

India currently has over 250 confirmed cases of the infection, across 22 states and union territories. There have been 32 cases in Delhi, including one death.