Shaheen Bagh may have inspired protests across the country, but in Hyderabad, even closed-door meetings are not being allowed by the police, allege activists.
On the wee hours of Friday, a group of women who sat-in for an overnight protest reciting Ayath-e-Kareema was forced to leave the private premises called hyder bagh at Mughalpura in the old city. After more and more people started gathering outside the place, police dispersed them forcefully and detained a few youngsters for a couple of hours.
Stating that the intention was to hold a peaceful gathering till morning and that no outsider was being allowed, activist Khalida Parveen said, “yesterday, we sat for prayer and seek help. Fifty housewives sitting in at one place is a threat,” she asked.
“Because of deploying a large number of forces, more and more people came in. Youngsters started sloganeering only after a policeman pushed aside a woman there,” Parveen added.
A senior police officer said that a closed-door meeting may turn into a public nuisance if people start to gather outside and raise slogans. “A prayer meeting is fine but the motive was possibly different. More and more people were gathering outside. Then it becomes a law and order problem.”
According to Parveen, the youngsters in Hyderabad are angry and frustrated about being denied the right to protest. “Resistance from police will make protesters aggressive. A flash protest may also turn violent. To avoid all of it, we want permission to sit somewhere to express our anger so that it will go away peacefully,” she said.
Meanwhile, Amjedullah Khan of Majlis Bachao Tehreek (MBT) alleged that even closed-door meetings against CAA and NRC are not being allowed in Hyderabad.
“Across India, protests are happening. Protests are our fundamental right. If there are any problems, the police should make the necessary arrangements. That is what the High Court told police in Shaheen Bagh case,” he said
Citing law and order issues and inconvenience to traffic, police have been denying permission to protest. “If they define any area and give permission, flash protests will not happen. Even in BJP-ruled states, the public is allowed to protest, our friendly police and the friendly government is not allowing protests. This government came to power through protests. Are you(government) afraid of democracy now?” he asked.
A few days ago, the Communist Party of India had to cancel an indoor meeting that was to be chaired by Kanhaiya Kumar in the city, after police asked the venue management to not proceed till further orders.
Responding on several flash protests across the city, a senior police officer said “it is good to protest, democracy allows that. And there is a procedure for that. But you have to take permission and go to a designated place and protest. If suddenly people start to protest on the road, imagine the inconvenience others have to go through.”
Protest against NPR
Continuing their protest against the new Citizenship Act (CAA), the National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC), members of the Muslim community took a pledge to not co-operate with NPR process after offering Friday afternoon prayers at Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid.
Convenor of Telangana State and Andhra Pradesh Joint Action Committee (TS&AP JAC) Mohammed Mushtaq Mallik read out the oath to hundreds of followers. “We will not fill the forms for NPR and NRC at any cost. We are citizens of this country and the government cannot demand proof of our citizenship.” Nearly 15 lakh people have taken a pledge across mosques in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh Friday, he added.
Moulana Naseer Uddin of Wahadat-e-Islami and core committee member of the JAC read out the same oath at Masjid-e-Ujale Sha Saidabad. As he tried to take out a rally, he along with many others were taken into custody by police.
Mushtaq Mallik said people of the state are eagerly awaiting a statement from Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, whose party had opposed the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the parliament earlier, regarding his party’s stand on NPR and NRC.
“The freedom of speech and freedom to protest is our constitutional right. Even Yogi’s (Uttar Pradesh government) regime and even the Gujarat government is allowing citizens to protest. I don’t understand why Telangana cannot allow us to protest,” he wondered.
Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi and United Muslim Action Committee(UMAC) have secured permission to hold a ‘protest, poetry, celebration’ meeting on the night of January 25 to mark the Republic Day and protest against CAA, NPR, and NRC, at Khilwat grounds near Charminar.
Mushtaq Mallik-led- TS & AP JAC has announced a 48-hour sit-in protest by women at Darul Shifa ground on January 27 and 28.
On January 23, the Hyderabad police commissionerate attached five assistant commissioners of Police(ACPs) and seven police inspectors t the South Zone, which is the Old City of Hyderabad, to assist the local police i maintenance of law and order situation till January 30 The police stations include Chatrinaka, Mirchowk, Dabeerpura Hussainialam, Moghalpura, and Charminar.
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