The Delhi Police have once again appealed to those protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act at Shaheen Bagh to vacate the area, this time citing the hardships caused to students in "reaching their schools, coaching centres and private tuitions".
"We have already appealed to you once before. Meanwhile, more complaints have been received regarding inconvenience due to blockade of Road No.13A, particularly to school children who are facing extreme hardship in reaching their schools, coaching centres and private tuitions," the Delhi Police tweeted on Monday.
The police also claimed that parents have expressed "deep anxiety" about the blockade affecting the upcoming board examinations. "Daily commuters, local residents and businesspersons are also facing acute harassment. We once again appeal to the protesters to clear the road and restore normal traffic," they said in another tweet.
Hundreds of women and children have been braving Delhi's cold winter at Shaheen Bagh for over a month now, becoming the face of countrywide protests against the controversial law enacted in December. However, the protest has also resulted in blockage of the stretch -- a key link between Noida and South Delhi -- and caused congestion on alternative routes such as the Delhi-Noida-Delhi Flyway.
Last week, the Delhi High Court had asked the police to try and clear the route through "persuasion" rather than force. "The concerned respondent authorities shall also keep in mind the larger public interests as well as maintenance of law and order," a bench comprising Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said, disposing of a public interest litigation filed by advocate and social activist Amit Sahni.
The Delhi Police sent out their first appeal to the protesters a few days later, asking them to "understand" what people commuting between Noida and Delhi have to go through.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, for the first time, makes religion the test of citizenship in India. While the government claims that it will help minorities from three Muslim-dominated countries get citizenship if they fled to India because of religious persecution before 2015, critics say it is designed to discriminate against Muslims and violates the secular principles of the constitution.