SC-appointed interlocutors visit Shaheen Bagh, talks to continue on Thursday

Sanjay Hegde and Sadhna Ramchandaran listened to various views expressed at the protest site, and expressed hope that an amicable solution would be found

(Right) Sanjay Hegde and (Left) Sadhana Ramachandran (Photo courtesy- social media)
(Right) Sanjay Hegde and (Left) Sadhana Ramachandran (Photo courtesy- social media)

S Khurram Raza

As the word spread that Supreme Court appointed interlocutors were arriving to meet the Shaheen Bagh protestors, the crowd swelled like anything. Sanjay Hegde and Sadhna Ramchandaran told the media categorically that they had visited the site to talk to the protestors, but that they respect the right to privacy of everyone.

As the two interlocuters reached inside the pandal the whole situation appeared to be going out of hand as the protestors wanted to talk in presence of media persons whereas the interlocuters felt otherwise. After commotion for some time, media persons were asked to leave the pandal.

Sanjay Hegde told the protestors told about the purpose of their visit. After briefly telling the protestors about the rights of the people, Sadhna Ramachandran said, “We respect the rights of every citizen and we will find out some amicable solution of this issue which will be an example for the world.”

The famous dadis (grandmothers) of the protest were ready to put their views before the interlocuters. A 90-year-old grandmother said, “we are sitting here for the protection of the Constitution.” Talking about closure of the road, another grandmother said, “from three sides police have closed roads so let police open those three sides then talk to us on opening the remaining two sides.”

Another grandmother was angry over the violence on Jamia students “Jamia students were injured in police action, did Modi or Shah enquire about it? Our kids should be given justice and perpetrators should be punished.”

Expressing anger against Modi and Shah another grandmother said “humne angrezo ko bhaga diya wo toh cheez kiya hain. (We even made the British leave the country)”

Questioning the firing incident at Shaheen Bagh and Jamia, another grandmother said, “protestors even provided complete security to Gunjan Kumari who came here in disguise”.

Young female protestors presented their case very articulately. A young girl said, “we are here to safeguard the Constitution and ideas of Gandhiji. They are concerned about inconvenience caused to people sitting inside a car, but they are not bothered about the inconvenience caused to protestors who are sitting here in the cold.

She told the interlocutors that they are happy that Supreme Court has send them to listen to our grievances. “Our belief in democracy has strengthened after Supreme Court send someone to listen to us,” she said. The girl said that the Supreme Court decision is a message to Shah that “the rule of my way or highway will not work in this country.”

Sanjay Hegde was impressed with the way these young girls presented their case and even quoted the famous phrase, ‘liberty lies in the heart of people’.

Refusing to change her stand on the protest, a young girl said: “Shaheen Bagh has become the torch bearer of all anti-CAA protests in and outside the country. There is a conspiracy to end this protest so that other protests could end automatically.”

Grandmothers and the protestors expressed unanimity in not withdrawing the protests

The crowd present there appeared a divided lot as some were ready to believe every word of the interlocuters whereas others branded them as government agents. Some protestors were unhappy as the interlocuters did not talk about CAA or NRC and they stuck to the issue of opening of the road. The interlocuters heard the protestors for two hours and will again listen to them on Thursday.

The interlocuters praised the confidence of the protestors, even as a protestor pointed out that “The protest is faceless but not brainless.”

The body language of the interlocuters showed some positivity towards finding the solution.

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