A woman lawyer and her flatmate have been evicted from their rented home in Delhi's Lajpat Nagar area for voicing their opinions against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) during Home Minister Amit Shah’s rally in the area.
A video shows a banner being held up from the balcony of the house, with one of the women shouting "We reject CAA" as the mob passed by.
Speaking to Bar & Bench about the incident that led to their eviction, Advocate Surya Rajappan said,
"I have been protesting for a while...since the protests started. The ruling BJP government was pretending that everything was in a state of normalcy...they were stating that everyone was in support of the act [CAA] and doing door-to-door campaigns. They had blatantly stated that they would would not budge. This is an obnoxious display of power.
Not everyone gets an opportunity to express their dissent. When I got an opportunity, I expressed my constitutional right before the Home Minister."
Narrating the chain of events, Rajappan said that in response to their protest, members of the rally were visibly agitated, and proceeded to harass and intimidate the two by shouting threats. After a while, her landlord informed her that she had to vacate the house, although there are 9 months left for the lease to expire.
"A mob of around 150 collected on the street below our apartment. We don't know how many people came up as our staircase is very small. But we recognized the voice of our landlord and his son. His first reaction to our banner was get out."
However, the ordeal was not yet over for the flatmates. The common entrance that led to the stairway of their house was locked and bolted by their landlord, who was also an active part of the angry mob. Rajappan further stated that she and her roommate were trapped in the house and were unable to leave.
"We were trapped inside for about 3-4 hours", she added.
After several interventions made by the police and various friends, Rajappan’s father was finally allowed to enter with the aid of a police officer who then recorded their complaint. After seven hours, the women were allowed to leave under the protection of the police after the door of their stairway was unlocked.
Following their eviction, Rajappan and her roommate have filed a complaint with the local police against the landlord and unknown persons.
Rajappan, who hails from Kerala and practices at the Delhi High Court, says that she and her flatmate are now looking for accommodation and will most likely not be returning to their Lajpat Nagar 2 residence.