Updated: December 19, 2019 10:04:38 pm
Two people died in Mangaluru and one in Lucknow due to bullet injuries on Thursday as a fresh round of protests against the amended Citizenship Act gripped various parts of India. Agitators defied prohibitory orders across regions, prompting authorities to detain activists and politicians, including noted historian Ramchandra Guha, Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav and Left leader Sitaram Yechury, and suspend mobile Internet services in several areas of Delhi. Follow LIVE Updates
While the protests were largely peaceful in Delhi, Karnataka, Mumbai, Bengal and Telangana, there were reports of violent clashes and arson in Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow and Bihar’s Patna and Jehanabad.
In Mangaluru, protests turned violent after demonstrators, defying prohibitory orders, resorted to hurling stones at police personnel leading to lathicharge. Police opened fire in the air and also lobbed tear gas shells to disperse the protesters, PTI reported. Two people succumbed to bullet injuries later in the day, Mangaluru Police Commissioner PS Harsha confirmed. The victims, Jaleel (49) and Nauseen (23), suffered bullet injuries in the afternoon.
In Bengaluru, scores of people, including historian Ramachandra Guha, were detained for staging a demonstration against the amended Citizenship Act and NRC near Town Hall in defiance of the prohibitory orders imposed in the city.
Minutes before he was detained, Guha said, “The police are acting at the behest of their colonial masters and I feel sorry for them. We can see ordinary citizens protesting here in a peaceful manner.” Criticising the central government, Guha said, “Our paranoid rulers in Delhi are scared. Our (Union) Home Minister would not dare allow a peaceful protest.”
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa appealed to all political parties, leaders and protesters to maintain calm and directed the police “not to take law in their own hands”.
In Delhi, Jantar Mantar became the epicentre of the protests after thousands of activists were not allowed to hold demonstrations near the Red Fort and Mandi House, where prohibitory orders were imposed in the morning. Left party leaders Sitaram Yechury and D Raja, former JNU leader Umar Khalid, Yogendra Yadav were among scores of protestors detained by Delhi Police near Red Fort when they tried to take out a march in defiance of prohibitory orders.
“India today has the ignominy of being the largest internet shutdown in the world. It is unacceptable. Metro stations were closed. This is worse than what we saw during the Emergency. Today’s protests showed the determination of youngsters to not let democracy be butchered,” CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said.
At Jantar Mantar, slogans of ‘CAA Se Azaadi and NRC Se Azaadi’, ‘Hum Honge Kamyaab’, ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ rent the air even as the ruling BJP and the government maintained there won’t be any rethink on implementation of the new law. “India is marching ahead under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and will continue to do so. The CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) will be implemented, so will be the NRC in future,” Nadda was quoted as saying by PTI.
Barricades by police in and around the national capital and closing of Delhi Metro gates at 18 stations triggered massive traffic snarls in large parts of the city. Moreover, 19 IndiGo flights were cancelled and 16 others were delayed as crew members were stuck in traffic jam on NH-8, a statement by Delhi International Airport Limited said. Four airlines — Vistara, GoAir, Air India and IndiGo — announced that their passengers, who are stuck in traffic due to the protests in various parts of Delhi, would be adjusted in subsequent flights for no extra fees, PTI reported.
Barely 500 km away in Uttar Pradesh’s capital Lucknow, a person succumbed to bullet wounds at Trauma Centre in the city as protesters pelted stones and torched vehicles, prompting police to retaliate with tear gas shells. However, it is not clear from whose gunshot he died. Uttar Pradesh DGP OP Singh denied that any firing was done from police end.
Scattered incidents of violence were also reported from Sambhal and Mau districts. In Sambhal, a public bus was set ablaze and another damaged while some protesters pelted stones at a police station. DGP OP Singh said police had to fire tear gas shells to control the situation in Madeyganj area, while nearly 20 people have been taken into custody, PTI reported.
Internet services remained suspended for at least part of the day at various places, including Aligarh, Sambhal, Mau and Azamgarh districts. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said those who damaged public property would have to pay for it and the culprits have been identified through video and CCTV footage.
“There was violence in Lucknow and Sambhal and we will deal with it strictly. All properties of those involved in damaging public assets will be seized and auctioned to compensate for the losses,” Adityanath said.
Violence was also reported from Bihar, where hundreds of activists of Pappu Yadav’s Jan Adhikar Party (JAP) burnt tyres on a road near Rajendra Nagar Terminus. In the morning, members of Left-wing student organisations — All India Students Federation and the All India Students Association — squatted on railway tracks at the terminus before being chased away by RPF personnel. In Jehanabad, CPI(ML) activists staged a roadblock on Kako More, disrupting traffic on national highways NH 110 and 83.
In Mumbai, thousands of protesters descended to August Kranti Maidan, where Mahatma Gandhi in 1942 told the British to quit India, with most slogans and placards directed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. Bollywood personalities, including actors Farhan Akhtar, Sushant Singh, Swara Bhaskar and filmmakers Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Saeed Mirza, were also present besides politicians like Raj Babbar, Hussain Dalwai and Milind Deora.
“As a citizen of the country and as somebody who was born and has grown up with a certain idea of India, it is important for me to raise my voice. If everything was ok, why would so many people turn up? Not just in Mumbai, but Delhi, Assam, Bangalore, Hyderabad,” said Farhan Akhtar.
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra said at the protest, “There are many kinds of flowers in our garden. But if we insist there should be only one kind and one colour of flower…” In his speech, Jaaved Jaffrey said, “Stop this game. Tell us what’s going to happen next. Give us roti kapada makaan. You said you’d give us health policy, education policy but you come to power and the first thing you say is that you are going to build a temple!”
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