New Delhi: A panel of eminent citizens, including Swaraj India president Yogendra Yadav, Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan and writer Arundhati Roy, came together Thursday to condemn the Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this month that public places cannot be occupied indefinitely for protests and they must be carried out in a designated area.
They also criticised the state and police’s actions in trying to stop people from protesting peacefully. The discussion was held at the Press Club of India, Delhi.
The panel, under the banner of Concerned Citizens Collective, also included Bezwada Wilson, convenor and founder of Safai Karmachari Andolan; Nivedita Menon, activist and JNU professor; Supreme Court lawyer Sanjay Hegde; and Nadeem Khan, co-founder of United Against Hate, a civil rights group, among others.
“Democracy and dissent go hand in hand, but then the demonstrations expressing dissent have to be at designated places alone — said the Supreme Court. We ask — was the Dandi March taken along designated routes? Was Jallianwala Bagh, the massacre of a gathering by permit, in a designated spot?” read a joint statement issued by the panel.
The statement also said, “Disruptions of normalcy are the core of a living, breathing democracy. We shall fight all attempts to stifle our democracy by criminalising these basic democratic rights. We shall take back our streets.”
Also read: India using vaguely defined laws to stifle voices of activists, says UN human rights chief
‘Becoming difficult to get permission for protests’
Yadav also said it has become difficult to get permission from the Delhi Police for holding peaceful protests.
“During the recent farmers protests, 20,000 farmers were sleeping at the Ramlila Maidan and we were having a meeting with the Delhi Police till 2 am in the morning regarding permission to protest peacefully. But we were denied. This has become the standard operating procedure of not just Delhi Police, but everywhere else in the country,” Yadav said.
“If our streets are emptied out, whatever parliamentary constitution in this country remains now, it will be finished,” he added.
Senior advocate Bhushan, meanwhile, condemned the arrest of former JNU student Umar Khalid and others in connection with the Delhi riots that broke out between anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and pro-CAA protesters this February.
Supreme Court lawyer Hegde said the Constitution which people defend is a product of both dissent and its recognition. “Our forefathers fought for an independent country in which men and women would have equal rights, including the right of peaceful assembly and protests,” he added.
JNU professor Menon said the Supreme Court’s judgment stating that agitations must be held in a designated area, “that protests must be safely musemised, is a parody of democracy”.
Also read: UP Police arrest Rahul Gandhi & Priyanka Gandhi, stop Congress march to Hathras
I’m sorry ? Did you say “eminent” ???
Is creating chaos and torment a large section of public called democracy? These people want their own framed constitution, laws and their own judiciary. That is why people pay no attention to the nonsense they talk day and night.
Urban naxals and anti nationals .
SC judgment has stopped chaos on the streets by these anarchists in the name of democracy. Disrupting normal life in a country cannot be anybody’s fundamental right and has no place in any democracy. Unless of course, like in British Raj days, when we were fighting for independence from the foreign rule, this gang of anarchists thinks they are fighting for independence from the constitutionally elected government.
There should be thousands of people in front of Roy’s and Yadav’s house to take back the streets! These people create trouble in other neighborhoods and go live in Ivory tower houses in posh localities. Roy’s foreign funding is dwindling and she is in panic mode now.
They call themselves “eminent citizens” and yet choose to question the SC ruling???. If intellectuals behave in such a silly way, what about the rural people??
What about my right of safe movement on the roads that I pay tax for?
“Eminent Citizens”? What rubbish.
They are nothing more than a bunch of common frikkin rabble rousing Communists.
These rascals are China funded trouble makers.
“If our streets are emptied out, whatever parliamentary constitution in this country remains now, it will be finished,”
May I submit that the streets belong to us too for use for which hey were built in the first place. Peaceful protest are not held on busy roads and streets and picketing public utilities.
I have been victim of these “peaceful” protests in my state since my preschool days.
Disclaimer: Nothing political about it please.
The usual suspects.
Their logic and reasoning are totally flawed. No citizen has the right to indefinitely occupy public spaces under the garb of protests.
These people are just anarchists and the rapid economic strides made by the nation since 1991 makes them very uncomfortable. Why? Because they are in the business of peddling poverty.
They and their ideology thrive in poverty and illiteracy. When people, millions of them, are lifted out of poverty and start enjoying a decent standard of life these ideologues are the ones who lose out. Because there are fewer people who are going to buy their utopian ideas.
Not just in the current NDA regime, these people have forever been associated with anti-social and anti-national elements.
Who can forget Ms. Roy championing the deeds of Pakistani Army or Ms. Menon calling for India to be Balkanised and independence for Junagadh? The Pakistanis must have listened to Ms. Menon closely. Thats why they recently released a map showing Junagadh as part of Pakistan.
All are urban naxals who are working hard to break up India. People like this have captured all levers of power for 70+ years and brutally oppressed any and all dissenting voices. They still hold overwhelming influence in the society. But as more people are becoming aware of their fascist ideology and tactics, their power is being questioned and their relevance is decreasing bit by bit. This is a desperate attempt of a cabal to stay relevant. The day is not far when these traitors and their ilk will be summarily rejected by ordinary Indians.
Their right to protest ends where my right to freedom of movement begins. Any one blocks the road must be imprisoned and their properties auctioned off for causing financial loss to commuters and nation. Protests must be allowed only where prior approval is sought and only for a designated number of people, This is the system what most of civilised nations have. Collecting large number of zakat funded jihadist and leftist tukde tukde gang to hold whole neighborhood and capital city hostage by blocking roads for months is not acceptable. These terrorists are waging war on people of India and India itself. They must be punished with “hang till death”:.
Supreme court is right in telling protests to be done peacefully in designated places rather than on streets which results in disruption of daily work of common man and also traffic blocks.
This is a democratic government not a colonial one. If you are protesting against it, you are protesting against democratically elected representatives of indian people. There is no place for those with no respect for democracy
Why isn’t there a quote mark around ’eminent citizens’ phrase. Double standards or is print declaring them as eminent citizens. Would appreciate the explanation.
Although this seems like nitpicking. But more often than not, I have seen the print doing it with one side of reports. Can refer many such reports published here.
Just curious about ‘honest journalism’.
IS SUPREME COURT IS CUSTODIAN OF LAW OR THE WHOLE COUNTRY AND ITS PEOPLE ?? THEY CAN’T GOVERN THE PEOPLE’S RIGHT AND WISHES !! THEY CAN’T DICTATE HOW PROTEST WILL BE MADE AND WHERE TO BE MADE.THEY ARE ONLY AND SOLELY THE “CHOWKIDAR” OF LAW, NOT THE OWNER OF LAW !!!
This is utterly reprehensible on their part. Setting the bar high for irresponsible citizens. The roads are not circus spots. The very fact that they want to occupy public places is akin to blackmail and arm twisting to satisfy their sick ideologies.
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