Several persons, including mostly women and children, have been injured in a brutal police attack at Azamgarh in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The Uttar Pradesh police swooped on the women sitting in protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act, National Register of Citizens, National Population Register at about 4 am this morning with a lathi charge that has left several injured with broken bones and wounds. One 55 year old woman is in ICU with serious head injuries.

Local eyewitnesses told The Citizen that the women had been wanting to sit in a Shaheen Bagh kind of protest for several days now, and were finally able to persuade their menfolk to allow this. So at 11 a.m. about 500-600 women gathered at Billiaraganj and started the sit in. The police reportedly told them to clear out, saying they did not have permission. At 4 am the police moved in on the women. Locals said that unable to withstand this sight, the men of the area started pelting stones at the Uttar Pradesh police that retaliated with rubber bullets and a stronger attack that has led to the detention of at least 20 more persons.

Sources said that the place was swarming with cops who had chased the youth and the men into their homes, beaten them and detained many. Several are missing still, and exact numbers of even the injured are still not known. The women were addressed by Maulana Tahir Madani (Jamiat Ulema Hind) who sources said was picked up the cops and is missing since. This could not be ascertained but his mobile was not responding.

Local said there was complete terror all around. The local MLA is from the Samajwadi party Nafeez Ahmad who has not been seen since the time of going to press. This is Samajwadi chief Akhilesh Yadav’s constituency, but he too has not been heard from. Efforts to contact him failed and as a young man whose mother and sister were both part of the protest but remained unhurt said, “Akhileshji does not come out of Lucknow, we have no hope from him at all.” More details are still awaited.

Currently the BJP top leadership is attending the Defence Expo that has been shifted to Lucknow from this year. Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath are in the state capital.

Three more such protests had started in UP after Shaheen Bagh, Kanpur, Allahabad and Lucknow in that order. Azamgarh was the fourth such effort but met with heavy handed action within hours, with the women and children not being spared. Those spoken to were in a state of shock pointing out that it was a very peaceful sit-in, and the lathi charge was totally unexpected and unnecessary. There are some videos made available, but need to be verified independent.