Sanjay Hegde, Sadhana Ramachandran unwilling to discuss issues in media’s presence.
Supreme Court-appointed interlocutors, advocates Sanjay Hedge and Sadhana Ramachandran, during their visit to Shaheen Bagh to initiate talks with the protesters demonstrating against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and National Register of Citizens in New Delhi on Thursday. (Photo: PTI)
New Delhi: The Supreme Court-appointed interlocutors met the protesters at Shaheen Bagh for the second day Thursday, on their second visit to the site where people have been on a sit-in for the past two months against the amended citizenship law.
Advocates Sanjay Hedge and Sadhana Ramachandran, the interlocutors, were not willing to start a discussion in in the media’s presence. The protestors tried to convince them that they wanted to represent their issues before the media, but the journalists were later asked to leave.
Mr Ramachandran, addressing the protesters, began by saying: “Aapne bulaya, hum chale aaye” (You called us, and we are here).
On Monday, the Supreme Court had said the blockade of the road at Shaheen Bagh was “troubling”, and suggested the protesters go to another site, where no public place would be blocked, but upheld their right to protest.
The court also asked Mr Hegde to “play a constructive role as an interlocutor” to persuade the protesters to shift to an alternative site. It said the interlocutors can seek former bureaucrat Wajahat Habibullah’s assistance.
Mr Hegde said the Supreme Court has recognised their right to protest. “When Shaheen Bagh has become an example of protests in India, let us set an example of a protest that does not disturb anybody. You all must rest assured that we are here to fight for you. Don’t think if you change your spot, your fight will die down,” Mr Hegde told the protesters.
The senior lawyer said: “We have seen many Prime Ministers come and go. Whoever comes to power and runs the country, sometimes some could be right and some could be wrong. Whatever you are saying… the whole country is listening, and also the PM.”
The protestors are demanding repeal of the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Ms Ramchandran said she was “really waiting” for that day when the “country’s atmosphere will change”.
An elderly man expressed his fear about his children’s security. “I am very scared… I am very scared for my children. Madam, save me,” he said. When Ms Ramchandran asked him more about his fears, the man replied: “I am a single father. I will die and go, but my children should get to live here with authority. My girls go to school where they are being told that you will go out of the country.” Ms Ramchandran told the protesters not to cry and to speak openly. Another man, speaking to the interlocutors, said: “I have a national flag on my bicycle. We love this country. Stop calling us traitors.” His daughter told the mediators: “I am a young girl and I want a beautiful India.”