Citizenship Act: Violent clashes in Jamia; buses burnt

Citizenship Act: Violent clashes in Jamia; buses burnt

 bus set ablaze by protestors against the Citizenship Amendment Act at Mathura Road, in New Delhi. PTI

Protest against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act turned violent in the national capital on Sunday with buses and fire engines set on fire, protesters baton charged and police entering Jamia Millia University and allegedly lobbed tear gas shells into the library where students had holed themselves up.

The students of Jamia Millia University had called for a protest on Sunday, which was joined by locals and others. Along with students, a large number of people residing in localities surrounding the Jamia Millia Islamia blocked roads and shouted slogans against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the BJP.

It turned violent as police prevented their march a section of the protesters setting on fire three buses and damaging a fire tender. A couple of motorcycles were also damaged in the fire.

The students immediately dissociated with the violence and said, "We have time and again maintained that our protests are peaceful and non-violent. We stand by this approach and condemn any party involved in the violence. We have maintained clam even when students have been lathi-charged and some women protestors have been badly beaten up. Violence by certain elements is an attempt to vilify and discredit genuine protests."

Jamia Teachers' Association also condemned the violence outside Jamia Millia Islamia and said it was not part of any such violence while appealing to students to keep away from "such directionless protest" led by local political leaders.

A University official said that police entered the campus and locked the gate while students claimed tear gas shells were lobbed inside the library. Police said they entered the campus to arrest "outsiders" who were part of the violence.

On Friday, several students were injured when they were lathi-charged by police who closed the university gates while they were about to take out a protest march to Parliament House.

On Saturday evening, the students had called off their university lockdown and declared they would hold a peaceful protest.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said any kind of violence is unacceptable and protests should remain peaceful. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation closed entry and exit gates of the nearby Sukhdev Vihar metro station due to the violent protest.

Congress-affiliated NSUI National Secretary Saimon Farooqui said protesting students were peacefully sitting on Mathura Road when policemen tried to "trouble" a couple of protesters. Following this, he said, police started the lathi-charge.

In another protest, students from the north-east protested at Jantar Mantar demanding the scrapping of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, claiming it was against the spirit of Assam Accord of 1985.

"For the BJP and its government, they are vote bank but for us they are foreigners whom the Act is going to extend citizenship. It is against the secular culture of Assam where native Muslims fought Mughals in medieval times and where surnames are shared by Hindus and Muslims now," Rukhsaar, a Delhi-based professional from Guwahati, was quoted by PTI as saying.

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