Citizens Defy State to Protest CAA
THE CITIZEN BUREAU
NEW DELHI: Protesters took to the streets in large numbers across India - demonstrating against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) despite restrictions and heavy police deployment. Protesters are being held in 11 cities - where Section 144 has been imposed, preventing people from gathering.
In the capital New Delhi - protesters gathered in Red Fort, where a call for a march under the banner ‘Hum Bharat Ke Log’ was to be held. They came in large numbers, despite the imposition of Section 144 in the area - which prohibits more than four people from gathering. Photos and visuals show protesters being detained by the police in large numbers, taken away in bus loads to undisclosed locations. The protesters continued chanting and sloganeering from the buses.
Similar scenes were seen at Mandi House, where the Left Parties had called for a protest march. CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury was detained by the police, and here too protesters were rounded up and carted away in buses.
Many took to social media to voice their frustration at not being allowed to gather for a peaceful protest. “Police fears unarmed protestors more than anyone.. Slow clap. This Government has taken away the right to peacefully protest from its citizens!” one protester said - posting a photograph of a crowd of police personnel at the scene.
Internet services were suspended in several parts of the city - including Mandi House and Red Fort, and also Jamia Nagar, Seelampur and Bawana. 18 metro stations were closed in the capital, preventing entry or exit. Borders are under heavy checks - with traffic in and out of the capital city impacted. Flights were cancelled, as cabin crew and pilots could not reach the airports.
Protesters did not give up - finally congregating at Jantar Mantar in large numbers.
In Bangalore, protesters defied Section 144 - which has been imposed across Karnataka - to take to the streets. Amongst those detained was historian Ramachandra Guha, who was picked up along with other protesters from Town Hall.
Similar scenes played out in Mysore and other parts of the state.
In Lucknow, several people were detained, placed under house arrest and issued notices - as the Uttar Pradesh government imposed Section 144 across the entire state. Magsaysay awardee Sandeep Pandey and Rihai Manch president Muhammad Shoaib were amongst those who were issued notices.
Protesters defied Section 144 in Hyderabad, with DCP South Hyderabad Avinash Mohanty confirming that 50 people were detained.
Hundreds came out in Chandigarh, planning to submit a memorandum to Punjab Governor and Chandigarh Administrator V P Singh Badnor in protest.
In Patna, a bandh was called in protest. Some protesters burnt tyres on the road and squatted on train tracks - causing traffic snarls and railway delays.
In Mumbai, hundreds of students gathered at August Kranti Marg and a candlelit march was held on Carter Road.
In Assam, protesters adopted the slogan - 'CAA Aami Namanu' (We will not accept the Citizenship Act) - as they took to the streets. Protests in Guwahati were organised at Latashil playground, Chandmari field and the Gauhati University campus and other locations. The All Assam Students Union has announced a mass satyagraha against CAA. Mobile services have been snapped across the state.
Reports from Assam say that so far, at least 329 people have been arrested and over 2000 others detained in connected with the CAA protests.
In Manipur, protesters formed a human chain. In Imphal, they carried placards vowing to fight against CAA.
In Arunachal, hundreds of students led peaceful marches in Itanagar and elsewhere. Protesters staged a sit in at Raj Bhavan in the capital, chanting slogans against CAA.
In Tripura, protesters burned copies of the Act. Earlier, a three day Tripura bandh had been called in protest.
In Kolkata, left parties have called for a mega rally today. Mamta Banerjee is also set to hold a protest rally today. Protesters have come out in thousands across the state - over 354 people have been arrested, and protests continue.