Several killed, hundreds injured and detained as protests against Citizenship Amendment Act spreads to several cities across the country. A GroundXero report.
The police of BJP led state governments continue with severe repression on people protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizen (NRC). Even after the Delhi and Uttar Pradesh Police’s brutality on Jamia and AMU University students was severely criticized, they still continue to lathi charge, detain and shoot protestors. According to sources, 19 persons had been shot dead till now. The death toll is highest in Uttar Pradesh where 11 protestors have been killed, followed by Karnataka with 3 deaths. Five persons were killed in Assam.
Starting with severe police repression and violence in Aligarh Muslim University campus, the Uttar Pradesh government has come down heavily on the protestors in Meerut, Sambhalpur, Kanpur, Faridabad, and Lucknow. Several people have been detained and at least one protestor was killed in police firings in each of the cities mentioned above, and two persons died in Bijnor. The trigger happy UP police notorious for its ‘encounter raj’ under the patronage of Yogi Adityanath government is hell bent upon suppressing any dissent and protest over CAA with brute force. The UP police has been accused of killing dalits, bahujans and minorities by falsely framing them as criminals. Rihai Manch, an advocacy group primarily working in the state has highlighted the deep rooted casteism and communalism in the police force and the low representation of Dalits and the Muslims in the force being one of the reasons for its deep rooted prejudice against the minorities. The UP Police is famous for repression of “social justice crusaders”.
Why #CAA protests in UP 'turned violent' while large protests in neighboring MP (in 12 districts) remained peaceful is because the UP police beats up peaceful protesters (like this ?). But on TV screens they will only show you (on loop) the retaliatory stone-pelting. pic.twitter.com/91MiNbiggf
— Asim Ali (@AsimAli6) December 21, 2019
Yesterday, Md. Shoaib, the President of Rihai Manch was taken to meet the Circle officer since then his whereabouts are not known. He has been put under house arrest since 18 December in Lucknow. On 20th December, Rihai Manch activist Robin Verma and a journalist with The Hindu newspaper was harassed and beaten up by the police. Rashid in a first person account wrote, “They locked the room and asked me to keep silent when I protested why I was brought there. The policemen threatened me they would book me under 120B of the Indian Penal Code if I didn’t keep quiet and also said they had evidence to show I was part of the arsonists who vandalized police property and engaged in violence during the protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act. I again clarified that I am a journalist and showed them my identity cards. One of them knew me as a journalist but that obviously was not considered.” He further added, “The same cop who threatened to put me in place, again asked me about the “Kashmiris” and said he would tear off my beard and thrash me if I didn’t answer his questions as per his liking. Since I didn’t have my phone, I could not note down the long list of expletives used against me.”
UP Police can be seen vandalizing cars
This video for you. #Bulandshahr
Up ke Gunde…… #CAA_NRC_Protests
— Er zishan khan (@Being_zishan) December 20, 2019
Police Action on Protestor outside Jama Masjid
In Delhi, thousands of people after the Friday prayers protested against CAA defying Section 144. Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad was seen with the protestors on the stairs of the historic Jama Masjid with a photo of Ambedkar in one hand and Indian Constitution in the other. The protest took place under police surveillance while police waited outside the gate of the Masjid and drones were seen capturing the visual of the protest. The already infamous police of Delhi that went on a rampage at the Jamia Milia University campus, resorted to brutal lathi charge and used water cannons against the protesters, when they started to move towards India Gate, at Daryaganj. The police were seen collecting stones to use it against the protestors in Jama Masjid. Few locals who tried to help the protestors were also severely beaten up by the police.
Video of police collecting stones
PLEASE SEE WHAT IS HAPPENING. DELHI POLICE AT DARYAGANJ. VIOLENCE AND STONE THROWING PREPARATIONS? SHOCKING IF THAT IS SO
Posted by Aditya Nigam on Friday, 20 December 2019
One of the protestors said, “People are bleeding everywhere on the streets… They were hitting everyone even children on the heads.” The police alleged that the protest was initially peaceful but suddenly became violent that led to the police taking severe measures. Certain news media reported that a car was lit up by the protestors and that led to the police action against the protestors. Though some people pointed out that the police is itself doing these dirty things to justify its repression on the protestors who are by and large quite peaceful.
Police beating people in Old Delhi.
A lawyer present at the Daryaganj police station said that around 30 people have been detained in Daryaganj PS. There were many children among those detained. DCP Mandeep Singh was present at the police station and he did not allow the lawyers to enter. Further, even the parents of the detained children were also not allowed to meet them. The ones injured in the police action were admitted in LNJP Hospital but the hospital is not allowing anyone to meet the injured. Seemapuri Police Station has not allowed lawyers to meet any detainee. Lawyers had to get an order from the judge at 3 am in the morning to release the detainees in Seemapuri.
Late in the night, the children detained by the police were released. They informed The Wire that they were beaten up even in the police station. A minor also alleged that police asked them to remove their pyjamas and beat them with belt.
Chandrashekhar Azad at Jama Masjid
Chandrasekhar Azad (Ravan) surrendered to the police citing the possibility of violence on the people gathered at the Masjid. In a message, before surrendering to police, he said, “This is a big fight. The CAA and NRC will break this country. This is not just the fight of the Muslims. This is a fight to save the nation.” He further added,” It’s a request to our friends to continue the protest and maintain peace … this is everyone’s fight and it’s a preparation to take away the rights of Dalits and adivasis as well, take away reservation, their voting right and other constitutional provision.” He requested others to continue and strengthen the movement.
In other parts of India, protest against the communal Citizenship Act continues. Though, the government is trying desperately to control the news of police brutality and people’s protest. The internet has been banned or restricted in many states. The IB Ministry has issued another circular to the news channel asking them not to cover the protests. In Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and several other places section 144 has been imposed. In Mangalore, a video footage showed the police entering a private hospital in order to hunt down protestors. Tear gas shell was fired inside the hospital premise. The police brutality has been severe mainly in BJP ruled state whereas in Bengal and Maharashtra the protests are more or less peaceful.
Cover Image: Protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, on December 20. Image Source: www.scroll.in