CAA: Protesters clash with police in Delhi's Seelampur

CAA: Protesters clash with police in Delhi's Seelampur

A police officer detains a demonstrator during a protest against a new citizenship law in Seelampur, area of Delhi

Protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in the national capital turned violent on Tuesday with agitators pelted stones, set motorcycles on fire, a police post was vandalised and buses damaged as police personnel lobbed tear gas shells and baton-charged them.

At least 21 people, including 12 policemen, were injured in the protest at Seelampur in north-east Delhi in the afternoon even as police detained five persons who were accused of being part of the violence. Joint Commissioner of Police Alok Kumar said no bullet has been fired and only tear gas shells were used. 

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Two FIRs have been registered at Seelampur and Jafrabad police stations in connection with the violence.

Tension prevailed in Seelampur area as the protest started around 1:15 PM though it was to start only at 2 PM. Initially, the march was peaceful but police claimed the protesters turned violent after 30 minutes when they were asked to disperse.

While the stand-off continued for around 90 minutes, senior officials claimed a "hidden mob" of 4,000 to 5,000 people indulged in "minor clashes" with police and situation was brought under control but locals said tensions continued to prevail in the locality.

The protest came two days after violence in south Delhi where buses were torched following a call to demonstrate against the CAA. Police action in Jamia Millia Islamia following this incident when they entered library and lobbed tear gas shells before beating up students had triggered widespread condemnation across the country.

Referring to the anti-CAA protests, especially in universities, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said protestors damaging public property, disturbing law and order and engaging in violence need to be prevented with strict measures by the police. 

"These violent protests are totally politically motivated which are trying to instill a fear in the minority community against the citizenship amendment act," he told Times Now. He asked if students were doing peaceful protests then why were vehicles burnt, stones pelted. 

"Peaceful protests are rights of every citizens and the government is not opposed to that. Nevertheless, the government would take stern action against violent politically motivated protests that seek to disturb law and order and damage public property," he added.

The trouble in Seelampur started when the protesters were stopped from moving ahead. They were marching from Seelampur towards Jaffarabad and when it was stopped, clashes broke out.

There were initially small groups of people who marched in protest but it soon swelled to over 3,000 people with police closely following them. While police asked protesters to disperse, officials said, some of them dispersed but there was sudden stone-pelting.

According to police, two motorcycles of police personnel were set on fire. A police post in the area was vandalised while CCTV cameras installed were taken away by the mob.

At least seven Delhi Metro stations in the locality were closed as violence erupted and were re-opened later in the day.


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