Massive protest at Jama Masjid, violence at Dilli Gate

Massive protest at Jama Masjid, violence at Dilli Gate

Thousands of people once again hit Delhi streets on Friday protesting against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) throughout the day but one in Old Delhi turned violent in the evening with a car set ablaze outside a police station and pelting of stones by those security personnel described as "outsiders".

Protests were held in various places in the capital including in Jama Masjid where Bhim Army chief Chandrasekhar Azad was present, India Gate where Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi turned up, Dilli Gate where violence broke out, Jamia Nagar, Seemapuri, Seelampur and Mehrauli among other places. 

The largest turnout was at Jama Masjid where thousands gathered at the steps of the iconic mosque after Friday prayers where Azad joined them with an image of B R Ambedkar in one hand and a copy of the Constitution in another along with supporters. He had managed to give police a slip to enter Jama Masjid in the afternoon, where protesters with tricolour and posters against CAA had assembled.

A march was taken out from Jama Masjid to Jantar Mantar, as announced by Azad's Bhim Army in which a large number of people joined, was stopped at Dilli Gate in Daryaganj around 3 PM. The protest was continuing peacefully but turned restive when police started trying to evict them around 6 PM.

Soon, a car parked near the boundary wall of Daryaganj was set ablaze and there was stone pelting at police. Police then resorted to the use of water cannon and baton charging the protesters to disperse them.

Delhi Police described the trouble-makers as "outsiders" who joined the protest even as it denied resorting to baton charging.

"We used mild force and water cannon, we didn't lathi-charge protesters or lob tear-gas shells. Many of our personnel, including a Joint Commissioner of Police, have been injured...Outsiders were involved in the violence that broke out after the protest. Outsiders were provoking them. We have detained many and their role will be probed," Delhi Police PRO Mandeep Singh Randhawa said.

At least 36 persons among protesters were injured and taken to a nearby government hospital and two of them were a journalist and video journalist from a Malayalam news channel, who alleged that policemen showered blows on them while filming the police action against protesters.

Earlier in the day, police had denied permission to carry out a march from Jama Masjid, saying protests should be held at designated spots to ensure law and order as well as convenience of the general public.  Several metro stations around Jama Masjid and other places of the capital were closed to prevent the flow of protesters.

Soon after Friday prayers were over, the devotees gathered at the steps of Jama Masjid and were joined by Azad and his supporters. Holding a picture of B R Ambedkar and a copy of the Constitution, Azad was seen shouting slogans while protesters carried tricolour and banners which read, 'Reject NRC, Reject CAA' and 'Save Constitution'. Azad also read out the Preamble of Constitution amid sloganeering.

A large number of police personnel, including from the Rapid Action Force (RAF), have been deployed in the locality to ensure that no untoward incident takes place. Police also used drones to monitor the situation in Jama Masjid and other protest sites.

In north-east Delhi, police imposed prohibitory orders in 12 police station areas besides using drones to keep a close watch on the situation on the ground. Police said around 1,000 paramilitary personnel deployed and 1,500 other security personnel were deployed in sensitive areas of Seelampur. RAF was also deployed near metro stations like Jafrabad.

Police led by Joint Commissioner of Police Alok Kumar and Deputy Commissioner of Police Ved Prakash Surya led a flag march in North-East Delhi. Seelampur area in North-East Delhi had witnessed violence during the anti-CAA protests Wednesday.

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