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Shaheen Bagh ‘protestors’ to defy coronavirus advisory, circumvent Delhi govt prohibitions by using loopholes: Reports

For about three months now, protesters in Shaheen Bagh have blocked one of the busiest thoroughfares in the national capital and refuse to budge.

The Shaheen Bagh ‘protestors’ have refused to follow the containment orders and decided not to curl off their protest even after the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has ordered that the protestors must comply with the ban on gatherings of over 50 people.

As per a report by Times now, a faction of Muslim protestors gathered there have said that a meeting has taken place where it has been decided that they would not end the protest, instead spilt themselves into groups of 50 and take precautions by sitting at a certain distance.

Another meeting is expected to take place soon after which the ‘protestors’ will take a final call.

The media coordinator of the Shaheen Bagh protest, Qazi Emad, said the protesters respect the ban imposed by the government at cinema halls and events such as IPL. “But those are a form of entertainment whereas our agitation is about our fight for survival. It cannot be compared,” Emad said. As per a statement released by the ‘women of Shaheen Bagh’, they are in talks with the legal and medical experts to see how they could take the ‘protests’ forward.

Moreover, advocate Anwar Siddiqui, a member of their legal team had also said: “We will not take any decision on the protest unless the Supreme Court directs us to do so.”

Earlier in the day, the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had invoked the Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897 and declared a new set of bans to limit the spread of the highly contagious disease.

In the press release, the AAP supremo announced a complete ban on social, religious and political gatherings of more than 50 people in the national capital. The ban, effective immediately, will also be applicable on Shaheen Bagh ‘protest’ site where Muslim women have been sitting on a ‘protest’ against the amended Citizenship Law for the past three months now, had said the Chief Minister.

Disregarding the government appeal to avoid large gatherings and crowded places, the Shaheen Bagh protestors have been recklessly continuing with their demonstration. They have apparently been praying and reading the Quran at the protest site, believing that praying to Allah would safeguard them from the coronavirus crisis. And now they seem to have found a loophole to circumvent the advisory to continue with their road blockade.

The Delhi government had last Friday ordered a ban on any gathering of more than 200 people, including sports events such as the Indian Premier League (IPL). The government has also shut all cinema halls, schools and colleges till March 31.

For about three months now, protesters in Shaheen Bagh have blocked one of the busiest thoroughfares in the national capital in protest against the enactment of the Citizenship Amendment Act that intends to grant citizenship to a persecuted minorities from the neighbouring countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The blockade of the road is causing massive inconvenience to lakhs of daily commuters who now have to circumvent the blocked road to reach their destination.

In addition, there have been allegations that the protesters at Shaheen Bagh are treating it as an independent enclave, with strict regulations enforced in allowing on who joins them in their protest based on their ideological inclinations.

The apex court, last week, stated that Shaheen Bagh protesters cannot carry out indefinite protests in common area inconveniencing people for eternity. It also issued notices to the Centre, Delhi government and the Delhi Police on the pleas seeking removal protesters from Shaheen Bagh. But the ‘protestors’ have refused to vacate the spot unless CAA is repealed.

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