A road in South East Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh that had been blocked for 70 days amid protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was briefly reopened on Saturday.
The closure of the road, exacerbated by roadblocks put up by traffic police in Delhi and Noida, had been a major point of contention against the protest and has been the subject of a Supreme Court-authorised mediation.
Shaheen Bagh has been the epicentre of anti-CAA protests in Delhi since mid-December following a brutal police crackdown on demonstrators in the neighbouring Jamia Millia Islamia that left over 200 students and around 30 policemen injured.
While the protest, led by women, has been accused by the ruling BJP of inconveniencing residents travelling between Delhi and Noida, media reports have questioned the roadblocks by the police that have obstructed alternative routes in the area.
The protesters at Shaheen Bagh say the CAA, enacted into law this year, is discriminatory towards Muslims. It promises citizenship to only non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, making religion a test of Indian citizenship for the first time in violation of the secular constitution.
Critics of the law say it can be used to target Muslims in combination with the planned National Register of Citizens. However, the government says the CAA is intended to help people who have faced religious persecution in the three neighbouring countries.