The Delhi High Court today disposed of a petition seeking directions to the Delhi Police to open the Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch, which has been closed since December 15 owing to anti CAA protests. The Court has directed the Delhi Police to look into the matter in larger public interest and deal with the issue of law and order.
It ought to be mentioned here that the Shaheen Bagh protests have been the cause of major road blocks on the busy stretch, forcing commuters to take alternative routes like the Delhi-Noida-Delhi (DND) Expressway and Ashram. The Kalindi Kunj stretch is crucial for the Delhi-NCR region as it connects Delhi, Faridabad in Haryana and Noida in Uttar Pradesh. The diversions have in turn led to massive jams on other crucial routes in Delhi.
The travel time between Noida and South Delhi has more than doubled due to the sit-in protest at Shaheen Bagh. The anti CAA protests have blocked the major highway and have caused great agony to the people affected by the sit-in protest. While it is yet to be seen whether the Delhi High Court will bring some relief for them, one can be sure about the fact that the Shaheen Bagh protests are going to have deep political repercussions.
The Kejriwal government in Delhi has been totally oblivious to the Shaheen Bagh protests. In fact, AAP MLA from the region, Amanatullah Khan has himself drawn fire in connection with the Jamia violence last month. The protests carried out by Jamia students against the CAA had turned violent in Jamia Nagar, which happens to be in vicinity of the Shaheen Bagh area. The AAP has a clear conflict of interest and wants to appease those who are actually holding Delhi to ransom by blocking the Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch.
Local residents have been protesting against the road blockage caused by the protests at Shaheen Bagh. In fact, South Delhi residents recently took to streets protesting against the road closure. Such has been the hardship caused by the Shaheen Bagh protests that major Delhi roads- the Mathura Road and the Ring Road are currently bearing vehicular volumes four times their capacity.
Meanwhile, Kejriwal, who claims to be the tallest political leader in Delhi has remained mum even in the face of the plight of school-going kids in the affected area who are forced leave home two hours prior to school timings. The unlawful protests, on the other hand, have intensified further, and even after the organiser of the Shaheen Bagh protests called off the anti CAA protests citing political interference, the protests have continued unabated.
The local AAP MLA ought to have attempted a possible solution to the impasse created by the Shaheen Bagh protesters, and the party should have stood in solidarity with the South Delhi residents. However, AAP deserted the people of Delhi compelling them to hit the streets, demanding an end to road restrictions. The Kejriwal-led AAP has clearly succumbed to the vices of vote bank politics. The ugly scenes and traffic logjams caused by the Shaheen Bagh protests will be fresh in the voters’ mind when Delhi goes to polls in less than a month. Shaheen Bagh might, therefore, prove to be Kejriwal’s Waterloo moment.