The AAP’s statement that the BJP was behind the Shaheen Bagh protests drew sharp reactions from residents of the neighbourhood, activists and civil society members.
“The women, mostly housewives who had nothing to do with any form of party politics, were pained, they were insecure over their children being beaten up in college campuses. They came out for the sake of the future of the next generation. What has the BJP got to do with how a mother felt? Dil pe zakhm laga,” said Shaheen Kausar, among the most prominent faces at the protest.
Bahadur Abbas Naqvi, a prominent lawyer of the area, said: “AAP had stayed silent during the riots. They say police are not under them. But could their leaders, who get full security, not have at least visited the areas to calm tempers?”
Abbas, along with former CIC Wajahat Habibullah and Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, had filed a petition in the Supreme Court, claiming that authorities had intentionally blocked several roads around Shaheen Bagh to cause inconvenience to commuters. “Under ‘Mission Save Constitution’ launched by senior advocate Mehmood Pracha, anti-CAA protests will be launched again, including at Shaheen Bagh. The entire movement was aimed at saving the Constitution. The allegation that the BJP, which has no regard for the Constitution, was backing the Shaheen Bagh movement is laughable,” Abbas said.
Meraj Khan, who had actively volunteered in arranging logistics during the protests, called AAP’s allegation “baseless”. “If AAP knew all this, why did it not make its stand clear before? They came to power six months ago,” Khan said.
Former JNU student leader Umar Khalid tweeted: “If Shaheen Bagh led to such polarisation, Amanatullah Khan (AAP’s Okhla MLA) wouldn’t have won with that margin. People across communities voted for him.” He was responding to AAP spokesperson Akshay Marathe’s tweet that “there is undeniable evidence that a section of the protesters was adamant on continuing to block the street despite knowing the polarisation it was causing… that section joined the BJP officially”.
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