CAA-NRC: Plea in SC over traffic blockade at Shaheen Bagh

NEW DELHI: A plea has been moved in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the police to take action for ensuring smooth traffic movement on the Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch, which has been closed for over a month due to anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests, making the public at large suffer.

The plea moved by a lawyer-activist, Amit Sahni, sought supervision of the situation in Shaheen Bagh where several women are sitting on an indefinite protest, by a retired Supreme Court judge or a sitting judge of the Delhi High Court to avoid any further deterioration in the situation and to circumvent any violence.

“The respondents (Delhi Police) cannot be permitted to behave like mute spectators particularly in a situation presently faced by persons living in the vicinity of Kalindi Kunj,” said the plea.

Sahni contended that the Delhi High Court did not order the forthwith removal of traffic restrictions and observed that no direction can be issued on the methodology to handle protest and traffic movement successfully, and left it to the discretion of the police.

“No one can be permitted to occupy a public road for any reason whatsoever under the pretext of peaceful protest and that too for indefinite period to make others suffer for the same”, said the plea.

The High Court had asked the police to examine the issue while bearing in mind that law and order is supposed to be maintained.

“The protests at public road cannot be permitted to continue as the same would set a wrong precedent and the same has inspired Shaheen Bagh-style protests in Prayagraj, Gaya, Nagpur, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Lucknow and Kota,” the plea said.

The plea contended that the situation is extremely sensitive as there is huge business loss to the businessmen who are having shops in the vicinity but have to close their shops due to the alarming situation.

The Kalindi Kunj stretch is crucial as it connects Delhi, Faridabad in Haryana and Noida in Uttar Pradesh.

In the backdrop of the closure of this stretch, lakhs of commuters are forced to take alternative routes — Delhi-Noida-Delhi (DND) Expressway and Ashram — leading to traffic jams and wastage of fuel.

On January 10, the High Court had refused to entertain an application, in the form of a letter, seeking directions to remove demonstrators protesting against the CAA at Shaheen Bagh.