CAA: Delhi rages in protest despite prohibitory orders

CAA: Delhi rages in protest despite prohibitory orders

The national capital raged in protest against the new controversial citizenship provisions on Thursday with thousands pouring into the streets despite an internet shut-down in some locations, prohibitory orders imposed on protest venues, detention of leaders and shutting of metro stations around Lutyens Delhi to prevent the flow of agitators.

Flag-waving protesters armed with anti-government posters, including senior Left leaders Sitaram Yechury, D Raja, Prakash Karat and Brinda Karat among others at Mandi House, and a large number of students who assembled at Red Fort were detained and many of them dragged into buses. 

Leaders were taken in buses and released several kilometres away from the protest venues. Around 1,200 protesters were detained when they defied prohibitory orders imposed by Delhi Police in Red Fort area.

Another set of protesters, mainly students, marched from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar, the capital's dharna hotspot where the number swelled to over 5,000 by afternoon. 

As a large number of people armed with anti-government slogans written on posters, specifically against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, staged protests, Delhi Police said there was no untoward incident or violence reported from the capital even as it defended its decision to shut down internet and imposing Section 144 of CrPC in some areas.

Simultaneous marches were organised from Mandi House and Red Fort to Shaheed Park near ITO but police denied permission to carry out the marches. 

At Red Fort, students were detained before they could take out the march while in Mandi House, where five Left parties had called a protest march, protesters gathered. However, a group of students broke away to carry out a march from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar where they were joined by others, including those detained who were later released.

In what authorities called as a precautionary measures and protesters a "Kashmir-like situation", Delhi Police asked telecom operators that "voice, SMS and internet be halted" between 9 AM and 1 PM in areas including Old Delhi, Mandi House, Seelampur and Jamia Nagar among other areas and the order should be treated as an "absolute direction".

Media persons who were attempting to tweet or sent stories on protest over phone found it difficult to sent their despatches while protesters who were live tweeting also could not do so. 

"The mood in the country is like the resistance to Emergency...Internet shut-downs are not longer confined to Kashmir or the north-east. The capital of India is under an internet shut-down. So you can imagine what is the mood of people against this government," CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, who reached Jantar Mantar after he was released from detention, said.

For many, the Thursday protests reminded them of the country-wide demonstrations following the suicide of research scholar Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad Central University even as they claimed that today's was much more in intensity.

At the protest venue, some students were seen offering roses to policemen in a 'Gandhigiri' act saying they can baton charge them but they would not hate them. Some lawyers who joined the protest offered legal assistance in case the protesters faced trouble.

Besides the main protest at Jantar Mantar, Mandi House and Red Fort, smaller protests were also held in several areas, including Raj Ghat, Daryaganj and Jamia Nagar.

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