People protest outside Jama Masjid against CAA

Last Updated 27 December 2019, 14:15 IST

Braving cold weather, hundreds of people gathered outside the iconic Jama Masjid in Old Delhi after the Friday prayers and protested peacefully against the amended citizenship law, a week after violent protests rocked the neighbourhood on the issue.

Amid heavy police deployment, the protesters raised slogans against the law and in support of the Constitution. They also shouted: "Don't divide Indians" and "We demand equality".

Congress leader Alka Lamba and former Delhi MLA Shoaib Iqbal joined the protest, which continued for almost two hours after the Friday prayers at the mosque.

Lamba hit out at the BJP government, saying "unemployment is the real issue in the county, but you are trying to make people stand in a queue for NRC as was done during demonetisation".

"It is very essential to raise the voice of democracy for the country and for the Constitution. A central government cannot become dictatorial and impose its agenda on people," she said.

Former MLA Iqbal said he condemns violence during ant-citizenship law protests.

"Those who create violence do not belong to us. There is a movement and it will go on. If someone disturbs our peace, then he doesn't belong to us and he wants to distract our movement. We would not tolerate violence. We condemn the violence which took place last Friday," Iqbal said.

Many of those who joined the protest said the contentious law needs to to be withdrawn.

"We do not want this Act and the government needs to take it back. People in the country will not stop from raising their voice against this law," said Mohammad Ismile, 41.

"This country does not need NRC and NPR. We want jobs and the government should improve our economy. We have been protesting peacefully and the violence which took place on last Friday during the march was not acceptable. We do not support violence," Mohammad Shakib, 36, said.

Violence had broken out in Daryaganj, near the Jama Masjid, last Friday during a protest against the legislation and people pelted stones at police officials and torched a vehicle.

The situation has improved gradually since.

Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Azad has been arrested in connection with last week's violence. Police said he had given an "inflammatory speech" after the Friday prayers.

(Published 27 December 2019, 13:40 IST)

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