Protests Continue in Delhi as Several Take out 'Solidarity March' in Support of Jamia Students
A large number of people took out a 'solidarity march' in South Delhi on Sunday in support of Jamia Millia Islamia students and those facing police action during protests against the contentious law.
Protesters hold placards demanding withdrawal of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), in New Delhi on Sunday. (PTI)
New Delhi: On a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a mega rally in the city, the national capital witnessed widespread protests against the citizenship law even as police maintained a strict vigil and carried out flag march in sensitive areas.
On Sunday, peaceful protests were held in several areas, including Jantar Mantar, Jamia Millia Islamia, Nizammudin, Alaknanda and Connaught Place. A large number of people hit the streets and took out a 'solidarity march' in South Delhi in support of Jamia students and those facing police action during protests against the contentious law.
Holding placards, people shouted 'Inquilab Zindabad' and demanded scrapping of the law during the march in Alaknanda area. A group of Jamia students also participated in the protest. In Seelampur, which was rocked by violent protests against the new legislation, and neighbouring areas, the Delhi Police and paramilitary personnel again carried out flag march.
Besides the Delhi Police, Rapid Action Force has also been deployed in the area as a precautionary measure to deal with any situation. Police also reached out to people and thanked them for maintaining peace in their areas.
The Delhi Police made elaborate arrangements to ensure that there was no protest around the Ramila Ground where the prime minister addressed a mega rally, a little over a kilometre from Old Delhi's Daryaganj that was hit by violence during a protest on Friday against the amended act.
Minutes before Modi arrived at Ramleela Ground, a security chopper surveyed the venue on Sunday afternoon. Hundreds of security personnel including Delhi Policemen were part of the three-tier security cover at the venue, a police official said.
The city had witnessed a number of violent protests in the last few days. On Friday, angry protesters set a car on fire, damaged several vehicles and resorted to stone-pelting near the Delhi Gate area after police personnel baton-charged them and used water cannon to disperse the crowd.
Earlier in the week, violence also erupted in Northeast Delhi's Seelampur, Jafrabad and Southeast Delhi's New Friends' Colony and Jamia during which several vehicles were set on fire and public property damaged.
A group of doctors has decided to provide immediate medical attention to those injured during clashes with police personnel in the national capital. "We will run two ambulances with doctors to provide medical facility to those protesters injured in the violent protest," Dr Ajay Verma, a psychiatrist of All India Institute Medical Sciences, said.
Members of the LGBT community also hit the streets, voicing opposition against the CAA and NRC at the Jantar Mantar and expressed concern that a countrywide National Register of Citizens will lead to the "exclusion" of most of them.
Rituparna Borah, who hails from Assam's Lakhimpur district, said it's very difficult for the queer community to get necessary documents. "What if my parents throw me out of the house. People elope, leave their house because of violence. In such a situation, all they have is an Aadhaar card.
The protest by the students of Jamia Mllia Islamia on Sunday entered its eight day, with senior CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury joining them. He slammed the Modi government over the new law which he described as "against the Constitution".
"Every religion has its holy book. The entire country has only one holy book, which is our Constitution. We will fight for the protection of our Constitution and rights...," Yechury told a gathering near Jamia Millia Islamia, stressing that protest against the contentious law should be peaceful.
At the Jantar Mantar, people from the northeast gathered, lamenting that the protests against the CAA were given a "Hindu-Muslim colour" and the voices from the region fighting for the rights of indigenous people ignored.
The protesters, including students and civil society members, said they were deeply hurt and distressed by the police "brutality" on those against the Citizen Amendment Act, but "our protest is about our rights".
"We will not let others hijack our agenda. We are here to speak about our people. You cannot always ask one to take more people," Tripura's royal scion Pradyot Deb Barman, who was also present there, said.
Hundreds of people demanding scrapping of the CAA participated at a public meeting in Delhi's Connaught Place, waving national flag and holding placards carrying couplets and catchy messages like 'Rebel with a cause - reject CAA' and 'Digital India without Internet - Shame', 'My name is Khan and I am an Indian', 'It is so bad that even engineers are here', 'Make India Democratic Again', and 'Darr ke Aage Peace hai'.
Students, doctors and artists were among the scores of people who gathered at Central Park against the law. Several AIIMS doctors wearing stethoscope around their neck also assembled at the site where the protesters sang patriotic songs and recited poems.
Later in the evening, a group of artistes on Sunday converged at Jantar Mantar to "fan the fames of protest" against the Act through their "songs and poems of resistance". When Poojan Sahil, a school teacher, recited "Dastoor", a poem of Pakistani Urdu poet Habib Jalib before the protesters, the crowd broke into applause and cheers.
"We feel people will get tired of protesting. As artistes, it our responsibility to not let this movement. We have to keep it alive through words, poetry that echo in everyone's mind," he said.
Meanwhile, Mohammed Minhajuddin the student of Jamia Millia Islamia, who lost his eye after being lathi-charged by the police said that his faith in law and order has been shaken. "What was my fault? I was studying in the old library in a reading room reserved for MPhil and PhD students. We had locked it after learning that police entered the campus, but they barged inside and started batoncharging students," he recalls.
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