New Delhi: A section of Shaheen Bagh protesters on Saturday said they were ready to meet Home Minister Amit Shah to raise their concerns over the new citizenship law but added that the onus was on the government to call them for talks.
However, Home Ministry officials said no request has come for an appointment with Shah to discuss issues related to anti-CAA protests.
Some protesters also said they would march to the Union Home Minister’s residence on Sunday afternoon.
The protesters, mainly women, have been staging a sit-in demonstration for the past two months against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).
They said the protest was “leaderless” and it was up to the Home Minister to decide who all he wanted to call for talks.
An announcement in this regard was also made by a speaker from the dais at the protest venue.
“We are ready to meet the Home Minister. But he should make it clear how many people he wants to meet,” Syed Ahmed Taseer, one of the organisers, said.
Mehrunnisa, who has been a regular at the protest, said the protesters would march to the Home Minister’s residence on Sunday.
“We would ask him to withdraw CAA-NRC-NPR,” she said, adding that the protest would continue till their demand was met.
In an interaction with a news channel earlier this week, Shah said anyone who wants to discuss issues related to CAA with him can seek time from his office.
“(We) will give time within three days,” the Home Minister added.
Quazi Emad Ahmed, a protester, said, “The protesters would begin their march from Shaheen Bagh to the home minister’s residence at 2 pm. There will not be any particular representative, but all the people opposed to CAA, NRC and NPR would go there to talk to the minister.”
However, they have not yet received permission from the Delhi Police.
In a letter to the protesters, the New Delhi district police said the march will pass through two more districts and request for it has been sent to the police headquarters for further appropriate actions.
Police said they had asked the protesters at Shaheen Bagh to give the details of the delegation for its meeting with the Union home minister.
In a written response to police, they said 4,000 to 5,000 demonstrators would be marching towards Shah’s residence.
Protests had unfolded in Shaheen Bagh, Zakir Nagar, Jamia Nagar, Khureji Khas and other places in the national capital and elsewhere across the country in December to oppose the CAA and the 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 but will be given Indian citizenship. The law excludes Muslims.
Those opposing the law contend that it discriminates on the basis of religion and violates the Constitution.
They also allege that the CAA along with the NRC is intended to target the Muslim community in India. However, the central government has dismissed the allegations, maintaining that the law is intended to give citizenship to persecuted people from the three neighbouring countries and not to take away citizenship from anyone.