Police lathicharged protesters, including women, during a dharna against CAA and the proposed NRC in Etawah on Tuesday night, causing a stampede-like situation. While protesters said they were being denied the right to protest, police said they used “mild force” after stones were thrown at them. Police have filed an FIR against 12 people, 100 unidentified women and nearly 500 unidentified men for violation of prohibitory orders.
In videos of the incident on social media, policemen can be seen chasing people with sticks and hurling abuses at them for allegedly throwing stones.
In a statement to the media, police said, “On Tuesday, slogans were raised by around 150-200 women against CAA and NRC… at Pachraha road in Kotwali police station area…A police team reached there late night and told the protesting women and children to not squat on the road as section 144 was in force. At the same time, around 600-700 youth and elderly people gathered at the spot and tried to block the road…After City Magistrate and SP City reached there and tried to convince the crowd, someone from the crowd threw two-three stones at the police. Even after several warnings, when the crowd did not disperse, a mild force was used by police…No one was injured in the police action.”
The protesters said police did not spare even small children. “You can see how much we are being harassed. Despite being Indians, we do not have the right to raise our voice. You can see what police are doing to us. They are beating us up. They are beating kids,” said a woman protester.
Another protester said, “Police beat us with lathis. They hurled abuses at us… We have the right to protest, then why are we not being allowed? Protest is our right and we will come again.”
Meanwhile, SSP, Etawah, Akash Tomar said that they are identifying those who were involved in blocking the traffic and stone-pelting. “The situation is now under control and no protest was held in the area on Wednesday,” he said.
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