Section 144 imposed in Shaheen Bagh; Delhi Police say it’s a ‘precautionary measure’

Days after communal riots hit north-east areas of the national capital, Delhi Police imposed Section 144 in Shaheen Bagh on March 1, reports suggest.

News agency ANI quoted Joint Commissioner DC Srivastava, who was at Shaheen Bagh, as saying that it was a precautionary measure.

“As a precautionary measure, there is heavy police deployment here. Our aim is to maintain law and order and prevent any untoward incident from occurring,” Srivastava said.

Imposition of Section 144 came amid possibility of a fringe right-wing group, Hindu Sena, protesting against the ongoing stir at Shaheen Bagh.

This, even as Hindu Sena said on February 29 that it had called off their proposed protest against.

In a statement, the Hindu Sena said that police pressured them to call off their peaceful protest on March 1. It also claimed that their national president Vishnu Gupta was “illegally detained”.

However, police said that no one was detained and the organisation called off their protest after a conversation with senior officials.

“The proposed protest call was cancelled with timely intervention. But as a precautionary measure, we have made heavy police deployment here,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Southeast) RP Meena said.

Twelve companies, including two of female forces, have been deployed in Shaheen Bagh, 100 men each from four police districts have also been deployed along with the local police, the official said.

Protesters at Shaheen Bagh, mostly women and children, have been staging a sit-in for over two months against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed pan-India National Register of Citizen (NRC).

According to the CAA, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 and facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants and will be eligible for Indian citizenship. The law excludes Muslims.

Those opposing the amended law say it discriminates on the basis of religion and violates the Constitution. They also allege that the CAA, along with NRC, is intended to target India’s Muslim community.

However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government has dismissed the allegations, maintaining that the law is intended to give citizenship to the persecuted people from the three neighbouring countries and not take away citizenship from anyone.

The sit-in itself has become contentious with many claiming that protesters are blocking an arterial road. The matter is currently before the Supreme Court of India (SC).

(With inputs from PTI)

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Updated: March 1, 2020 — 9:38 pm

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