Finally, the Shaheen Bagh protests that provoked deadly riots in Delhi last month, causing more than 50 deaths, have been removed from the street that they blocked for months. The protests have been hit by Coronavirus, and therefore, in some rather dramatic developments today morning the Delhi Police cleared the unlawful Shaheen Bagh blockade as the National Capital goes under lockdown to plug the spread of the novel COVID-19.
— ANI (@ANI) March 24, 2020
Firstly, the police personnel had to put themselves at great risk exposing themselves to Coronavirus at a time when there have been reports about Coronavirus infecting the unlawful agitation. The extremist protesters who have become virtual fidayeens didn’t budge even now and had to be physically evicted by the police personnel amidst the Coronavirus outbreak.
Now, we are suddenly staring at a major confrontation as locals gathered around the Shaheen Bagh roadblock site once again some of whom have been part of the protests and are displeased by the step. Maybe, they are looking to protest against “police brutality” just like their brothers-in-arms had protested last year by torching buses and other vehicles. But while they protest against “police brutality”, what the gathering also does is bring Delhi under the danger of a deadly Coronavirus outbreak.
Delhi: Locals gather near the anti-CAA protest site in Shaheen Bagh which was cleared by police today morning, amid complete lockdown in the national capital to prevent the spread of #Coronavirus pic.twitter.com/lkOkcbPcIN
— ANI (@ANI) March 24, 2020
While the entire country is in a state of complete lockdown in order to contain the Coronavirus outbreak, Shaheen Bagh, being the epitome of free speech and expression, wants to continue protesting even if that means putting every single person in Delhi getting infected with the deadly virus.
The Shaheen Bagh protests have always been full of bigotry, and while their organiser Sharjeel Imam wanted the Northeast to be cut off from India, the supremacist and provocative remarks themselves are responsible for the bullet that landed in Constable Ratan Lal’s chest, multiple stabs in IB staffer Ankit Sharma’s body and the murder of two infants.
As soon as Coronavirus hit the unlawful agitation, the organisers made it clear that they won’t budge and announced some of the most outrageous measures, seriously deficient to avoid even a Common Cold leave alone the question of checking the spread of the novel Coronavirus. On Sunday, as the nation observed Janta Curfew, there was a scuffle in Shaheen Bagh- while some wanted a lockdown, others wanted the bigoted agitation to continue.
— Saurabh Trivedi (@saurabh3vedi) March 22, 2020
But the protests, which didn’t stop even after the murder of two infants passed off as qurbaanis didn’t stop even after it became a potential hotbed of Coronavirus. Now, the fears of a major law and order breakdown might have come true as the Delhi Police, CRPF and other security forces in the area are almost face-to-face with a peculiarly tense situation- handling Coronavirus afflicted radical mobs that can easily turn India’s National Capital into another Wuhan.
Also remember that this is a particularly sensitive area that we are talking about, and the localities in vicinity of Shaheen Bagh- Batla House Encounter site and Jamia Nagar where a couple with IS links was recently arrested has a history of communal tensions and violence.
In 2007, for example, a mere rumour that a Quran was dropped by a policeman had led to massive violence that resulted in two dozen police officials getting injured. A local leader went on to slap a police officer only on the basis of such rumours. The SHO and the Additional SHO of the area were severely injured too and even the police records were set on fire by thousands of rioters.
Long before Batla House Encounter, a Lashkar terrorist involved in the Red Fort attack was killed in the same area. Three months of bigotry at Shaheen Bagh and a virus that is nearly as deadly as the level of bigotry that we have witnessed during the Shaheen Bagh agitation, has set up the area and the entire National Capital for some serious devastation, the run-up of which might be the reports of locals gathering in the area.
This is radicalism of just another level- a quasi-Jihad using a disease to further illegitimate objectives. This is not a mere confrontation as the radical leaders calling the shots are threatening a major skirmish in the streets of Delhi, at a time when people should be actually quarantined in the safety of their homes. Elements that provoked riots in Delhi riots last month are now using Coronavirus at Shaheen Bagh in order to unveil an epidemic Jihad.