'Hope to resolve matter with everybody's co-operation': Shaheen Bagh interlocutor Sanjay Hegde; to continue talks on Thursday
PTI Photo

The Supreme Court appointed interlocutors Sanjay Hegde and Sadhana Ramachandran interacted with the anti-CAA protestors at Shaheen Bagh on Wednesday. However, the third interlocutor Wajahat Habibullah wasn't present with them.

Sanjay Hegde read the Supreme Court order to the protestors. He said that he hopes to resolve the matter with everybody's co-operation. Speaking to the media, he said, "We have come here according to the order of the Supreme Court. We hope to speak to everyone. We hope to resolve the matter with everybody's co-operation."

Another interlocutor Sadhana Ramachandran said that they will hold talks with the protestors tomorrow also. "We met them and listened to them. We asked them if they want us to come back tomorrow as it's not possible to complete the talks in one day. They said they want us to come back tomorrow, so we will," Ramachandran told media.

While interacting with the anti-CAA protestors at Shaheen Bagh, Ramachandran said that their right to protest should not affect the right of others to use public road and services.

"The Supreme Court has said that you have the right to protest. The law (CAA) has been challenged in the Supreme Court. But like us, others too have their rights, like the right to use roads, open their shops, students reaching their schools. Your right to protest should not affect the right of others to use these services," Ramachandran said at Shaheen Bagh.

Talking to the protestors, she said that she will hear them out and together they will find a solution that will set an example for not only the country but for the world.

"It will tell the world that we think about everyone and not only ourselves," she told the demonstrators protesting against the recently implemented Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Meanwhile, the third interlocutor Wajahat Habibullah wasn't present with them. However, he arrived with an entourage of advocates soon after the two other interlocutors left. The move left media and protesters wondering if there was a rift between the mediators, or a conscious strategy to both listen to, and guide the protester

The Supreme Court had on Monday appointed senior lawyers Sanjay Hegde and Sadhana Ramachandran besides former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah to go and talk to protesters at Shaheen Bagh area to convince them to hold the agitation at an alternative site.

The apex court has fixed the matter for further hearing on February 24.

Thousands of people, including a large number of Muslim women, have been staging a sit-in protest at Delhi's Shaheen Bagh area since mid-December last year against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The PIL, filed by Nand Kishore Garg and Amit Sahni through their lawyer Shashank Deo Sudhi last week, sought appropriate directions to the Centre and others concerned for removal of protestors from Shaheen Bagh near Kalindi Kunj.

The petition seeks appropriate direction to the respondents, including the Union of India, for laying down "detailed, comprehensive and exhaustive guidelines relating to outright restrictions for holding protest/agitation" leading to obstruction of the public space.

(With input from Agencies)

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