Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 imposed in Lucknow ahead of Republic Day. This step has been taken by the government keeping in mind the ongoing Anti-CAA protests and the Defence expo. The protests in Lucknow are taking momentum similar to that of the protests in Shaheen Bagh, New Delhi.
Section 144 is an archaic law that has been retained from the colonial era. The law empowers a district magistrate, a sub-divisional magistrate or any other executive magistrate specially empowered by the state government to issue orders to any person to abstain from a certain act or to take a certain order with respect to certain property in his possession or under his management. This usually includes restrictions on movement, carrying arms and from assembling unlawfully.
The section is a cause for controversy as it is very broad and comes in way of Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression guaranteed by the Constitution of India under Article 19(1)(a). It was used by the britishers to curb the protests for Indians against their administration.
The move to impose the prohibitory orders was taken by Police Commissioner Sujeet Pandey on 18 January, 2020, who said that it had been done to maintain law and order in the coming weeks.
Rubia, 72, sitting with a blanket wrapped around her, said, “We are not causing any disturbance to either the Republic Day parade or the Defence Expo. We will not budge an inch from here till CAA and NRC is withdrawn. My parents and grandparents were born in India and they did not leave any papers for us to show to the government. We have assembled with our children and it is our fight for our rights.”
Muslim homemakers at Shaheen Bagh have been protesting for the scrapping of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 and the exercise of National Register of Citizens (NRC) since 15 December, 2019. Despite the bitter cold weather of Delhi, these women have shown great perseverance for the cause by arming themselves with thick blankets, warm cups of tea and songs of resistance. They celebrated New Years Day by singing the national anthem in solidarity.
The protest has been getting the attention of activists, eminent lawyers, journalists and their likes for the persistence shown by these otherwise not political women of Shaheen Bagh.
Author: Nandini Gandhi