Shaheen Bagh Protests
Shaheen Bagh Protests

"Disproportionate action in the time of Corona was unnecessary", Shaheen Bagh protestors write to SC over forced eviction [Read Letter]

Inter alia, the protestors have asserted that they had already decided to vacate the protest site in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, save for 2-3 women who would remain present to symbolise the protest

Bar & Bench

A letter has been addressed to the judges of the Supreme Court on behalf of Anti-CAA protestors recently evicted from Delhi's Shaheen Bagh, whereby protest has been registered over their “forcible and vindictive removal” by the Delhi police on Tuesday.

In letter dated March 24, the protestors assert that they had already decided to vacate the protest site in view of the “emerging situation with respect to COVID-19, except for two or three women who would remain present to symbolise the protest.

These women would observe the necessary physical distance and other precautions to guard against the coronavirus, the letter added.

The protestors further assert that they had prepared a statement to be submitted to the Supreme Court through the interlocutors with this update. On March 23, the protest continued only symbolically with less than five women, the letter states.

"... we have endeavoured to be in compliance of the State directives issued, especially those pertaining to the call for a “Janta ka Curfew” on 22.03.2020. By Sunday, 22.03.2020, the Shaheen Bagh gathering had been thoroughly sanitised and cleared of anything and anyone more than the symbolic protest of 3-5 women protesters seated at sufficient distance from each other."

Shaheen Bagh Protestors

On the intervening night of March 23-24, the Police arrived at the Shaheen Bagh protest site remove the protest. While the arrival of the police caused some confusion, the situation was resolved at the time, the protestors have said.

However, this was followed by forcible eviction brought about by the Delhi Police on the morning of March 24. Cranes were also brought in to destroy structures at the protest site, all of which rendered the protestors helpless and fearful, the letter states. The letter goes on to highlight,

“While we understand the need for stricter imposition of curfew and enforcement of pertinent restrictions, the ruthless dismantling and thoughtless destruction of the markers of our physical protest, especially the very structures whose placement is in question in a matter that is sub judice in the SC, reeks of strong vendetta and ill feelings towards our innocent protesters, locals and sympathisers… the disproportionate action in the time of Corona was unnecessary.”
Shaheen Bagh Protestors

In this backdrop, the protestors have submitted a Charter of Citizen’s Rights and Prayers before the Supreme Court, adding that “We look forward to our day in court.

The charter so presented include the following prayers,

  • A fair probe into the actions of the police in forcibly evicting the protestors;

  • Protection for the protestors;

  • Withdrawal of cases and personal bonds imposed on peaceful protestors;

  • Revocation of cases filed against students the Jamia Milia Islamia University following the student anti-CAA protests;

  • Take cognisance of hate speeches directed at the protestors. The letter added that “A popular sentiment has been created, where dissent is considered an anti national act. We resent this attack on our fundamental right to voice our disagreement in a peaceful manner.

  • An enquiry into the relentless attack on protestors on social media.

Additionally, concern has also been raised that the poorer sections of the country may not be able to abide by the quarantine measures advised by the Government or to sustain themselves during the period of the present lockdown.

In this regard, the protestors have requested that the Government “launch programs aimed at communities where social distancing isn’t a practical measure.”

[Read the Letter]

Shaheen Bagh Protestors - Letter to SC.pdf
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