Citizenship Act: Protests Across Country; Delhi Police Lathicharge, Detain Jamia Students

Internet services were suspended in Aligarh to thwart a protest.

New Delhi: As protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act continued on Friday, internet services were suspended in Aligarh to prevent a march, while Delhi police lathicharged students of Jamia Millia Islamia University who were protesting.

As many as 63 of them have been admitted to the Holy Family Hospital after police interrupted a protest march and then proceeded to release tear gas and lathicharge the protesters, according to reports. Section 144 has reportedly been clamped around the university campus.

The protesters had called for a march to the Parliament House from the university campus to express their opposition to the legislation. The students have accused the police of using force against them, with the alumni association severely condemning the violence.

A student’s head being bandaged after police unleashed violence on Jamia Millia Islamia University protesters. Photo: By special arrangement

Photos and videos widely circulating on social media show students severely bleeding or injured.

According to reports, around 2,000 students participated in the protest. Police detained several protestors, taking some to the Badarpur police station and others elsewhere.

PTI has reported that 50 students have been detained.

Protests across capital

The Jamia campus was not the only one which saw protests on Friday. A large number of protesters, including Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind leaders, protested at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Friday against the amended citizenship law, which they described as “anti-constitutional” and “divisive”, and demanded its immediate withdrawal.

A third protest was organised by the Delhi Congress in Seelampur area of East Delhi.

The protesters at Jantar Mantar, led by JUH general secretary Maulana Mahmood Madani, carried placards with slogans like “Save-Constitution, Withdraw CAB”, “Division on basis of religion unacceptable”and “CAB nahin rozgar chahiye“.

Internet suspended in Aligarh

Internet services in Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh district were blocked since midnight till 5 pm on Friday in view of the protests planned against the amended Citizenship Act.

The administration has denied permission to BSP leader and mayor Furqaan Ali, who wanted to hold a protest against the passage of the Bill in parliament. Elaborate security arrangements have been made in view of the call given by the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) teachers’ association and students for taking out a protest march and handing over a memorandum to the district authorities.

Also Read: Why the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill Is Unconstitutional

The AMUTA and students had announced that they would take out a march from the library to the university circle just outside the campus, where they would hand over memorandum.

In an emergency meeting held on Wednesday, the AMUTA had described the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Parliament as one of the darkest days in the annals of the history of independent India.

Protests in other parts of the country

Protests were also reported in many other parts of the country, including Bengal’s Howrah district, Hyderabad, Gaya in Bihar.

In Howrah, thousands of people protested the Act and the proposed nation-wide NRC and blocked the National Highway 6 at Uluberia. The protestors, with national flags in hands, gathered at the spot around 2:30 pm and blocked the highway, one of the major roads that connects Kolkata to rest of the country.

No policemen were seen at the spot as the protestors sat on the road, set tyres on fire and brought traffic to a standstill.

“We do not want India to be divided, we want to protect the Constitution. We are for a secular West Bengal and against the amended Citizenship Act and the NRC,” said Maulana Ghulam Mustafa of the local Boro Masjid who was leading the agitation.

Traffic jam at NH-6 during a protest against CAB and NRC in Howrah district of West Bengal on December 13, 2019. Photo: PTI

“The amended Citizenship Act and the NRC are actually a plan of the central government to divide the people on the basis of religion. Will not allow that,” he told news agency PTI.

Mustafa said the district magistrate or the sub-divisional officer will have to meet the protestors and listen to their demands or warned that the blockade will continue.

In Hyderabad, reports said protests were held after a call was given by various Muslims organisations to hold peaceful protests across the city. Organisations such as the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e Hind, Jamaat-e-Islami, Tehreek Muslimeen Shabban and Wahadat-e-Islami had called for a protest.

According to Telangana Today, after the Friday prayers at the Mecca Masjid, a group of persons held a silent protest. They denounced the Act and demanded it to be withdrawn. Protests were also held at Saidabad, Mehdipatnam and many other places of the city in which thousands participated.

CPI national secretary K. Naryanana, who took part in a protest at Hyderabad with former party MP Azeez Pasha, alleged that the BJP had brought in the anti constitutional bill as part of its ‘Hindu agenda’, a party press release said.

Protestors during a demonstration against the passing of Citizenship Amendment Bill at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, December 13, 2019. Photo: PTI Photo/Ravi Choudhary

Train station set on fire

According to PTI, the Beldanga railway station complex in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district was set on fire and RPF personnel deputed there were allegedly thrashed by people, protesting against the amended Citizenship Act on Friday, officials said.

Also Read: With CAB, India Has Taken a Decisive Step Towards the Sangh Parivar’s Idea of a Nation

Several organisations in the district had called for mass protests.

“The protestors all of a sudden entered the railway station complex and set the platform, two-three buildings and railway offices on fire. When RPF personnel tried to stop them, they were brutally beaten up,” a senior RPF official told PTI.