Since Wednesday, the police have issued notices to around 50 anti-CAA protesters at Nagpada under sections 111 (magistrate order against any person who is likely to commit a breach of peace) and 149 (illegal assembly) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
The police said the notices have been issued to warn the protesters not to disrupt peace and harmony. It says if they fail to oblige, they may be arrested.
This comes a day after the police booked 300 women participating in the indefinite protest since January 26 against the CAA, the NRC and the NPR.
A protest by women, on the lines of the ongoing sit-in at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi, is underway on Morland Road since Republic Day. On Friday, an FIR was lodged by the Nagpada Police against the protesters after the BMC allegedly complained that it was unable to carry out repairs on Morland Road due to the protest. The protesters have been booked under Section 431 (mischief by injury to public road, bridge, river or channel) of the IPC and Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888.
Maaz Azeem, one of the volunteers at the protest, said the police started serving the notices to women entering the protest site on Saturday morning.
“The police asked several women for their names and contact numbers. The officers also said that only after they sign the notice, the women would be allowed to enter the protest site. But as many women objected, the number of women at the entry point of the protest site started swelling,” he added.
“The police did not see this coming and as they could not handle the crowd, they allowed us to enter the protest site without serving any notice or taking signatures,” said an protester.
Matin Mateen, a local resident, said he was served a notice on Friday night. “It was for illegal assembly. Several protesters have been served this notice.”
The police said that no arrests have been made yet. DCP Abhinash Kumar said, “Several woman have been served with notices. Some women have refused to take the notice, we will take further legal action against them… they will have to produce a bond or surety and if they fail to do so, they shall be arrested.”
Under Section 111 of CrPC, a magistrate can issue an order against any person who is likely to commit a breach of peace or disturb public tranquillity. He may require such person to show cause why he should not be ordered to execute a bond, with or without sureties, for keeping the peace for such period, not exceeding one year, as the magistrate thinks fit.
On Saturday, the crowd had thinned at Mumbai Bagh. Ruhi Ansari, a protester, said despite the police attempting to make them leave, many women have refused to move. Farishtey Ansari, another protester, said the police threatened her to either sign the notice or get detained.
Namira Ansari, a protester, said by late evening, the police officers again started noting down the numbers of the protesters and of the volunteers who were distributing water and food. “They are trying to scare us,” she added.
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