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Candles Lit, Ambedkar Posters Held High: Thousands at India Gate Recall India's Secular Values

Protesting against police crackdown in Jamia and AMU, thousands participated in an event to read the Preamble of Constitution at India Gate on Monday (News18.com)

Protesting against police crackdown in Jamia and AMU, thousands participated in an event to read the Preamble of Constitution at India Gate on Monday (News18.com)

As they vowed to uphold India's secular values, the protesters lit candles at the venue, and raised slogans against Delhi Police and 'dictatorial' attitude of the government.

New Delhi: Thousands gathered at India Gate on Monday evening to demonstrate against the police crackdown on students at the Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University. The protesters, who were joined by Bhim Army chief Chandrashekar Azad, were seen holding posters of Mahatma Gandhi and BR Ambedkar, while reading out THE Preamble.

As they vowed to uphold India's secular values, the protesters lit candles at the venue, and raised slogans against Delhi Police and "dictatorial" attitude of the government.

Police had put up barricades to stop the students from reaching Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate where an event to read the Preamble of Constitution was scheduled to take place. Later, the police allowed the students to carry on the scheduled programme.

Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad was also present at the protest site. Invoking VD Savarkar's name, he said that his followers should not forget that "India will always live on Ambedkar's values".

Earlier at India Gate, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra led a demonstration, throwing traffic in central Delhi out of gear. There was a heavy deployment of police at different places to prevent any untoward incident.

"I am concerned about my son's safety. When police can literally beat them up in libraries, where will they be safe? I have come here to express solidarity with these students," news agency PTI quoted Shweta Jha, an engineer at a Noida-based firm, as saying.

"When policemen were beaten by lawyers, they cried buckets...the way they attacked students yesterday made me feel as if I am living under a dictatorial rule," said a psychology student of Ambedkar University, referring to the lawyer-police clash at Tis Hazari Court in November and subsequent demonstration by the men in khaki.

Another student demanded that Union Home Minister resign if he cannot ensure safety of "students who are peacefully studying in libraries".

In view of the protests, the Delhi Metro closed some stations in central Delhi. Entry and exit from Patel Chowk, Central Secretariat, Udyog Bhawan, Lok Kalyan Marg and Janpath stations were barred for over two hours.

Anger over the police crackdown in Delhi's Jamia Millia Islamia and at the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act cascaded across many campuses in the country on Monday with politicians and civil society supporting the students to decry what they say is an unconstitutional law.

The morning after violence erupted in the national capital's New Friends Colony, the lines between anger at the police action and the protests over the CAA blurred into a unison of protest — from Kerala to West Bengal and Telangana to Uttar Pradesh — as the day progressed.


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