New Delhi: At least 185 students were detained by police on Tuesday while they were going to the Ramlila Maidan here to protest against the new citizenship law and the recent communal riots in northeast Delhi.
According to police, the protesters were detained from different locations in the national capital and taken to several police stations.
Around 200 students had gathered at Jantar Mantar on Tuesday morning in response to a protest call given by the Young India Coordination Committee, which comprises members from various student bodies. Former IAS officer and activist Kannan Gopinathan was also present.
However, the police restrained the students from proceeding towards the Ramlila Maidan to participate in the protest march against the Citizenship (Amendment) Law and over the communal violence in the national capital.
While many students claimed that hundreds of them were detained from several parts of the city, the police confirmed they had held 185 student protesters. Police said the students did not have permission for the march to Parliament.
Former JNU Students' Union president N Sai Balaji, who was leading the march, said, "We had submitted the application for permission on February 27. We were informed on Monday about the permission being rejected. It is last-minute intimation".
Later, student groups who arrived at Jantar Mantar raised anti-government slogans and demanded resignation of Home Minister Amit Shah over the recent communal riots in northeast Delhi.
Many students carried posters and banners that read: "Peace, Not Riot", "Scrap Sedition Law", "Reject anti-poor, Reject anti-Muslim," "DU for communal harmony", and "Stop police brutality on anti-CAA protestors".
The former IAS officer, Gopinathan, said he was happy that there are still people who are not afraid to question the Centre.
Anyone who raises questions against the Centre is termed 'anti-national', he said while addressing the gathering. "When students question the government, they are termed as 'tukde-tukde' gang. If activists raise questions, they are termed 'urban naxals'," he said.
Balaji criticised the Delhi Police for not arresting BJP leaders for their allegedly provocative slogans.
"We are not Hindu or Muslim. We are youngsters of this country who are here to safeguard the constitution of this country," he said. "They (Centre) are scared of the youngsters of the country, so they frame us on false charges and the leaders of BJP who raise provocative slogans get a free run," he added.
A student claimed the police were detaining the protesters even if they were assembling in small groups.
"We don't fear anyone. We need to stand united at this hour and spread the message of peace," said one of the protestors.
Another protestor, a student of Lady Sri Ram College, said, "The rules and regulations are made for us. Our only way of expressing our dissent is through protests. What has happened in northeast Delhi is disheartening".