Cops give up dispersal plans as protesters stand ground

Cops give up dispersal plans as protesters stand ground

While the police were busy breaking up small groups of protesters in the morning, a 500-strong group of men and women waving the national flag and placards condemning the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) swarmed the road closer to the SJ Park at 12.30 pm. (PTI Photo)

Plans by the city police to disperse the anti-CAA agitation fell by the wayside on Thursday afternoon, when a large number of protesters stood their ground at the Silver Jubilee Park and argued the right to protest peacefully.

While the police were busy breaking up small groups of protesters in the morning, a 500-strong group of men and women waving the national flag and placards condemning the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) swarmed the road closer to the SJ Park at 12.30 pm.

The large protest group, organised by 20 NGOs, occupied the pavements against attempts by the police to remove them. DCP (Central) Chetan Singh Rathore tried persuading them to disperse. “Please leave the area. I have been awake since 2 am and I am tired,” he said. The crowd roared with joy, but eventually dispersed towards SP Road.

Then, to Rathore’s shock, the crowd began racing towards the Town Hall. The desperate police rushed in three buses to throw up a barricade and managed to halt the crowd.

Although police officers described the gathering as “illegal”, newly minted Shivajinagar MLA Rizwan Arshad described it as necessary.

“In every BJP-majority state, we are seeing the imposition of Section 144. What are they trying to do? Are they trying to control people?” Arshad asked. “These protests show the scale of public dissension against this central government’s attempts to change this country through such legislation as the CAA.

“The question now is what sort of a country India will become? A country of Hitler or a country of Gandhi?” Arshad continued. He was taken into police custody for refusing to ask the crowd to disperse.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)