Clashes between police, anti-CAA protesters in Aligarh

Clashes break out between police, anti-CAA protesters in Aligarh

A view of after Clashes broke out between anti-CAA protesters and police at Uparkot jama masjid Aligarh, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. (PTI Photo)

Clashes broke out between police and violent, anti-CAA protesters in the old city area here on Sunday, in which at least five persons were injured, two of them critically, said officials.

With protesters indulging in arson, vandalisation of property and stone-pelting at security personnel in Upper Kot area under Kotwali police station limit, the police fired teargas shells and rubber bullets to disperse the mob, said Aligarh District Magistrate Chandra Bhushan Singh.

Following the violence, the district administration also suspended internet services in the city till midnight today as a precautionary measure, Singh added.

Those injured in clashes included a 22-year-old onlooker, who was, according to his father, fired at and injured by a miscreant, whom, he said, he recognises.

Four others in the mob suffered injuries from pellets and rubber bullets, two of them in their eyes, with one of them likely to lose his left eye, said doctors treating them.

Deputy Inspector General of Police (Aligarh range) Preetinder Singh, meanwhile, told PTI that police have also detained some persons after the violence.

The protesters too have been evicted from their "dharna" site, he added.

Aligarh DM Singh said the violence broke out at a spot on Mohamed Ali Road leading to the Kotwali police station where some women protestors were holding a dharna since Saturday with the police trying to evict protesters from there.

The trouble began around 5 pm when the police tried to persuade women protestors at Upper Kot near Kotwali to evict them from the road, he said.

"We told them that women protestors were already holding a dharna at Eidgah and they would not be permitted to hold another such protest near Kotwali," said Singh.

He said "even as efforts were underway to convince women to leave the area with prominent Muslim citizens of the area, including the Sahar mufti Abdul Khalid trying to defuse the situation, mayhem broke out and brick-batting started.."

The district magistrate said police used tear gas shells to disperse the mob.

"An electricity department transformer was set afire but police managed to douse the flames before they could spread," he said.

Describing the situation in Upper Kot area as "tense but under control" Singh said "an intense patrolling of the affected areas is underway and the police are trying to trace out those who were "instigating" the women protestors at Upper Kot since yesterday"

One of the injured included 22-year-old man Tariq, whose father and brother told police at hospital in presence of this reporter that he suffered the bullet injury after a "miscreant" opened fire at him amid clashes between police and protesters.

Tariq was admitted at Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital at Aligarh Muslim University here, where doctors described his condition as "serious".

The victim has suffered the bullet injury in stomach, they said.

Tariq's father told police at the hospital that his son was standing in front of his house when he was shot at by a miscreant whom he recognises.

A hospital spokesperson said a total of five persons have been admitted to the hospital after the clashes.

Injured included a 25-year-old man, Mohammad Ibrahim, who suffered pellet injury in his left eye.

He is to be operated operated upon tonight but doctors fear he may lose his left eye's vision, said hospital spokesperson, adding a 20-year-old man, Rashid, too has suffered an eye injury, but he is out of danger.

The spokesperson said another youth, Kalim, 22 too was hit by a rubber bullet in his chest but he out of danger.

DIG Preetinder Singh told PTI that the police resorted to "use of force" after protesters targeted them with heavy stone-pelting.

"Some of the anti-CAA protestors at city's Turkmaan Gate area pelted stones at a police jeep, after which police used force and pushed them back. Some people have been detained. The CCTV footage is being examined. Strict action will be initiated against guilty persons," he said.

"A protest was going on near Kotwali police station (in Aligarh), and women were staging protests. There was a rumour that police have arrested someone after which people started pelting stones on police vehicles and damaged them.

"Police used force to disperse the protestors, and the protesters have been evicted from the site," he added.

The clashes in the old city area broke out shortly after a Bhim Army-led march by hundreds of anti-CAA protesters heading to the district collectorate earlier were stopped midway by police and Rapid Action Force jawans.

Stopped by police, the protesters, however, had headed towards the Eidgah area in the city where another group of anti-CAA women protestors had been holding an indefinite dharna for the past three weeks.

As the Bhim Army-led protestors, including women, were stopped by police from moving ahead after they crossed the Katpula Bridge from the old city, they decided to join women protesters in Eidgah area.

The protesters had taken out the march on a call by Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar.

Aligarh SSP Rajmuni, who took over the charge as the district police only last night, had earlier told mediapersons that following the abortive march, an FIR has been lodged against three persons at the Delhi Gate police station for trying to violate prohibitory orders and breach peace in the city.

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