Delhi Police Tuesday detained 185 protesters, mostly students, from outside Ramlila Maidan. They were supposed to march till Jantar Mantar to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the recent communal riots in Northeast Delhi. Police said the protesters did not have the permission.
Incidentally, on February 28, a ‘peace march’ led by BJP leader Kapil Mishra was allowed to pass through Connaught Place and Janpath despite no police permission. The slogan ‘desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maaron saalon ko’ was also raised.
The call for Tuesday’s march was given by the Young India Coordination Committee, an umbrella organisation of various student and youth groups. As protesters began to gather at Ramlila Maidan at 10.30 am, they were detained and taken to various locations. The march was then cancelled and the organisers decided to gather at Jantar Mantar.
“Permission for the march was rejected and communicated to the organiser. Despite this, there was apprehension of people coming and marching… so, strong arrangements were made at Ramlila. Protesters were detained swiftly and taken to Khatu Shyam Stadium, Hari Nagar police station and Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Bawana,” said DCP (Central) Sanjay Bhatia. He said the detainees were booked under Section 65 of the Delhi Police Act and later released.
Former JNU students’ union (JNUSU) president N Sai Balaji, who was leading the march, said they were informed about rejection of permission at the last minute on Monday.
At Jantar Mantar, students were asked where they were going and which college they belonged to before they were allowed to pass through police barricades. Police also videographed the entry of the protesters. DCP (New Delhi) Eish Singhal said the exercise was for “security reasons”.
Speaking at the protest, former JNU student Umar Khalid said, “… If we want to hold a rally in Delhi, we don’t need to seek their permission. We only need to go near them and raise the slogan ‘goli maaron saalon ko’ and police will grant permission.”
JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, former IAS office Kannan Gopinathan and Jamia student Shadab Farooq, who was shot at by a gunman outside his university, were also present.
Azad said, “We say it’s a democracy, which sounds good. But we cannot talk, we cannot protest, we cannot take to the streets, we cannot move freely, we cannot raise our voice against oppression and injustice. Then what kind of democracy is this?”
(inputs from Armond Feffer)
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines