Cops detain 9 students for protesting near Town Hall

Cops detain 9 students for protesting near Town Hall

Police evict students from Town Hall on Tuesday. DH PHOTO/AKHIL KADIDAL

A planned protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act by a group of college students at Town Hall resulted in nine people being detained by the police on Tuesday. They were let off almost four hours later. 

The problem began around 11.50 am when 30 college-goers appeared outside the venue to take part in an anti-CAA protest scheduled for 11.45 am. The protest was organised on WhatsApp by a small group of students from Mount Carmel College. 

Although the protesters had intended to hold an hour-long protest before marching on to Freedom Park three kilometres away, they found Town Hall occupied by over 300 protesters, claiming to be from the Karnataka barbers’ community and shouting slogans in demand of a development board. 

Upon seeing the students standing in front of the building, the police began to violently push them away from Town Hall and down JC Road. 

When asked why the group was being evicted from the area, SJ Park police inspector K S Tanveer Ahmed described them as agitators.

“They have no permission to be here. They are a disorganised mob; you point out to me one person who is their leader. There is nobody. They are here to disrupt (peace),” he said. 

The students disputed the claim. “There is no Section 144 in place here, preventing the assembly of people. Why are you evicting us,” one student demanded of the police. 

Another student, Sanjana, from the Bangalore Institute of Legal Studies, said that many in the group did not know each other. “We have no banners or slogans. You have no right to treat us this way,” she told a plainclothesman. 

Police, however, summoned a van after members of the group began to speak to the press. One of the first to be forcibly detained was Mohammed Touqeer, who told DH that he had come to Town Hall to exercise his right to protest as a citizen. Another person taken into custody was Teresa, a student whose original call for a protest on WhatsApp had gone viral. 

Teresa said police had snatched her phone and warned the group they would be under surveillance henceforth. She added all nine people were released at 3.30 pm.

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