People protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Lucknow. (Photo courtesy: AP)
Two protesters were killed in police firing on Thursday inMangaluruwhile one died of gunshot wounds in Lucknow as the agitation against theCitizenship Amendment Act, brewing since last week flared up nationwide.
Lucknow police chief Kala Naithani, however, said cops didn’t fire a single bullet during protests. “It’s yet to be established how Mohammed Wakil suffered a bullet wound,” he told TOI.
Huge crowds came out on to the streets of cities and towns that were so far untouched by the unrest. Parts of UP, including Lucknow, and Mangaluru in Karnataka witnessed the day’s most violent protests, with mobs vandalising public property and clashing with the police at several places. Two protesters in Mangaluru died and several were injured after the police opened fire on a crowd that had allegedly attempted to set fire to the North police station. Mangaluru police commissioner PS Harsha identified the two men as Jaleel Bengre, 75, and Nauseen Kudroli, 30.
In Lucknow, two police outposts, three OB vans, at least six cars and a government bus were set ablaze.
Hazratganj and the old city were under siege for around five hours, with vandalism overshadowing what had started out as processions of protesters from various locations. At least 500 people were arrested across UP, of them in Lucknow. Another 1, 823 people were detained for defying Section 500.
Sources said around 3, 06 people, including political leaders and activists, had received official notices warning them against taking part in the anti-citizenship Act protests. Ten of them were put under house arrest.
In Bengaluru, historianRamachandra Guhawas among the many people detained for participating in a rally against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act at Town Hall. By the end of the day, the number of detentions in the city for violating prohibitory orders touched 1, (******************************************.
To get around Section 500, which prohibits the assembly of five or more people, students and staff at IIM-Bangalore stepped out in batches of three to protest against the citizenship law outside the campus gates. Prof Deepak Malghan said about 100 to faculty members, students and staff participated in the unique relay protest from 6pm.
Protests were also reported in Hubballi, Kalaburagi, Hassan, Mysuru and Ballari. In each of these places, the police detained protesters by citing Section 500.
Mumbai, too, raised its voice against the new citizenship law with a
**************************, – strong afternoon rally at the August Kranti Maidan. Led by students, the three-hour rally saw many celebrities, including actorsFarhan Akhtar, Swara Bhaskar, Jim Sarbh and Sushant Singh, and director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra turning up to show solidarity with the protesters.
“Today, Mumbai students and youngsters have shown that they can take charge of their country. We cannot afford to stand and watch as the government makes laws to break up this nation, “Fahad Ahmad, a student of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, told TOI.
Bihar was partially affected by a dawn-to-dusk bandh called by the Left parties against the citizenship law and the plan to create a National Register of Citizens (NRC) for every state. Movement of passenger trains was affected in four divisions of East Central Railway during the bandh.
Supporters of two political outfits – JAP, led by former Madhepura MP Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, and VIP, headed by Mukesh Sahni – made their presence felt with protests in Patna and neighborhood Vaishali district.
Hundreds of activists of two student organizations – AISA and AISF — squatted on the rail tracks at Patna’s Rajendra Nagar terminal around 7am and disrupted train services. Joined by Sahni’s group later, the protesters later blocked Old Bypass Road before the police chased them away.
In Jaipur, a procession from Khasa Kothi to Collectorate Circle was a counter to rallies by BJP’s legal cell and ABVP in support of the citizenship law. It was the same in Ajmer, with rallies both for and against the new Act. Union minister of minority affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi cancelled a scheduled visit to Ajmer.
Gujarat’s minority-dominated areas were brought to a standstill by a bandh called by civil rights groups. Violence erupted in some areas of Ahmedabad and Vadgam, where protesters pelted stones at the police in retaliation to lathicharge and tear gas shells fired at them. At least 75 people, including eight police personnel, were injured in clashes in the Shahpur, Shah-e-Alam, Khanpur and Mirzapur areas of Ahmedabad.
Chhapi town, km from Palanpur in Gujarat’s Banaskantha district, was on the edge after hundreds of people from the minority community jammed the Ahmedabad-Abu highway. A mob made an unsuccessful attempt to overturn a police vehicle. Three people were detained for unlawful assembly, but were released in the evening.
In communally sensitive Godhra, business establishments in the minority-dominated areas remained shut through the day. Parts of Vadodara were also affected by the bandh.
In Nagpur, around 30 Dalit, OBC and Muslim organizations took out a rally in Nagpur amid heavy security in view of the ongoing winter session of the Maharashtra assembly. The protesters were joined by a couple of Congress leaders.
Pune saw a protest march from Mahatma Phule Wada till Lokmanya Tilak statue in Mandai that was attended by thousands of citizens. Students of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad organized a match at Pune University. Minority-dominated areas of Malegaon observed a bandh in protest against the citizenship law. Over two lakh powerloom units remained closed along with other commercial establishments and educational institutes. Thousands of Muslims took part in a silent protest march, following which they submitted a memorandum to a representative of the district collector.
In Telangana, a busload of students from the University of Hyderabad was taken into preventive custody on their way to join a procession. Six students of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad, were also detained at Nampally and sent to Ramgopalpet police station.
There were allegations about the police detaining even people who weren’t participating in the protests. “I was out shopping with my son. Suddenly, a group of women cops asked me to accompany them to the police station,” said Afsarunisa, a homemaker.
The only rally to receive official sanction was the one organized by Citizens Against NRC & CAA in Telangana. Over 500 people joined the protest on Necklace Road, raising slogans, reading the preamble to the Constitution and tearing up copies of the amended citizenship Act.
Kolkata, where CM Mamata Banerjee had led an anti-CAA rally two days ago, saw students from Presidency University, Jadavpur University , Aliah University and Satyajit Ray Film and television Institute participate in processions against the new law. Another rally in the heart of the city was attended by (********************************, odd citizens.
Prohibitory orders were clamped in Bhopal, where protesters had gathered at Iqbal Maidan in the morning, along with other MP districts after clashes in Khandwa.
Thousands of people had converged on Khandwa’s Idgah Maidan for a sit-in around (*****************************************. ******************************* am. The Shahar Qazi addressed the gathering during the hour-long protest. As the crowd started to disperse, some youngsters started marching towards Pardesipura, leading to an altercation with the police. Khandwa SP Shivdayal Singh denied there was any lathicharge on the protesters, including some minors.
In Thiruvananthapuram, the trigger for protests were the arrests of Yechury and Raja in Delhi. Members of several Left outfits marched towards Raj Bhavan. The Social Democratic Party of India protested the arrest of its national secretary Taslim Ahmed Rehmani in Delhi.
“We condemn the arrest of senior leaders like Sitaram Yechury, D Raja and Ramachandra Guha. The central government should not be under the impression that protests can be silenced by blocking freedom of movement and freedom of opinion, ” Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan said.
Chennai did witness any major protest because the police would swoop down on any potential assembly, either near campuses or along the main roads of the city. Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan and members of his Makkal Neethi Maiyam party were prevented from entering the Madras University campus to meet students.
In Trichy, the police detained 30 SFI members for trying to block trains. Protests against the citizenship law were reported in some Vellore colleges.
Chandigarh saw several protests, including one in front of the Sector mosqu e and another by students of Punjab University. Mohali in Punjab had small protest gatherings, as did Patiala, Jalandhar, Sangrur and Bathinda in Punjab and Rohtak and Kurukshetra in Haryana.
Odisha witnessed protest rallies in Sambalpur and Rourkela, besides Salipur in Cuttack district.