Violent CAA protests take 3 lives in India’s 2 states, Internet shutdown

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International desk, December 20: Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) raged across India’s State cities and turned violent in many parts, resulting in vandalism, destruction, arson and the deaths of at least three people. Two people have died in Mangaluru due to police firing, one other has died in Lucknow due to bullet injury, which the police said was their doing.Internet shut down and restrictions that have so long affected other parts of the country reached the national capital on Thursday when protesters agitating against the Citizenship Act were detained in large numbers and authorities snapped the Internet and mobile networks in Red Fort, ITO and other parts of central Delhi, India Today reports.

Here’s all that happened on Thursday across states over the Citizenship Act:

KARNATAKA DEATHS

Protests in Mangaluru took a violent turn on Thursday as protesters tried to lay siege to the Mangalore North police station and tried to attack police personnel. Two persons, identified as Jaleel (49) and Nausheen (23) suffered bullet injuries in police firing and succumbed to the injuries. Mangaluru Police said they had to use force as they were left with no choice in the face of the agitated mob.

The police commissioner also said that 20 police personnel were injured in the attack and police resorted to lathicharge, tear gas shelling and firing. Prohibitory orders were imposed in many parts of Mangaluru on Thursday and yet the protesters defied the restrictions and thousands took to the streets. The clampdown will now continue till Friday night.

LUCKNOW DEATH

The anti-Citizenship Act protest in Lucknow took a violent turn when agitators went berserk and set buses, cars, media vans and motorbikes on fire in the Uttar Pradesh capital. As the protesters went on a rampage and hurled stones, damaged police outposts in the old city area, police resorted to tear gas shelling to control the situation.

A man died after suffering a bullet injury on his stomach, however, police denied the death was caused by police firing and said further investigation will be done to find out the reason behind the death of Mohammad Vakil.

The protest continued for hours and the protesters torched a state-run bus at Parivartan Chowk, close to the district magistrate’s office, and set on fire a police post in Satkhanda area.

Another police post was damaged in old Lucknow’s Madeyganj, where police fired tear-gas shells after protesters smashed vehicles parked outside a police post. About 20 people were taken into custody.

As several groups announced multiple protest rallies and events across Delhi on Thursday, Delhi Police imposed Section 144 in central and parts of north Delhi to prevent large gatherings. As the protesters started arriving in front of the Red Fort, Delhi Police started detaining them. At the end of the day, police had detained over 1,200 people all over Delhi and its outskirts.

Opposition leaders, including D Raja, Sitaram Yechury, Nilotpal Basu, Brinda Karat, Ajay Maken, and Sandeep Dikshit, and activists Yogendra Yadav and Umar Khalid, were among those detained near the Red Fort and Mandi House — the sites of the two planned demonstrations.

For the first time in Delhi, Internet, voice and messaging services by Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and Reliance Jio were suspended in several parts of the capital region so as to quell the protests from spreading. The unprecedented clampdown in the national capital went on for several hours.

Apart from the prohibitions and Internet shut down, the Delhi Metro too was affected as Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) closed entry and exit gates of 20 stations to stop protesters from gathering at various protest venues and sensitive areas. While 18 of the stations were opened later, Jamia Millia Islamia and Jasola Vihar Shaheen Bagh metro stations remain closed.

RAMACHANDRA GUHA DETAINED

In one of the most fiercely criticised actions against the anti-CAA protesters, Bengaluru Police on Thursday detained historian Ramachandra Guha, who attempted to stage protest at the Town Hall area in Bengaluru and was speaking to a news channel about the amended citizenship law. Ramachandra Guha said his detention along with many others in Bengaluru was “absolutely undemocratic” and was not allowing even a peaceful protest.

The Opposition launched a scathing attack on the BJP government to say the Centre was scared of India’s “most accomplished” historian.

MUMBAI PROTEST COMES OUT ON STREETS

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the financial capital against the Citizenship Act on Thursday, converging at the August Kranti Maidan, where Mahatma Gandhi in 1942 told the British to quit India.

The gathering included workers of political parties, students and a smattering of Bollywood personalities, who made out a strong case against the Act and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Despite it being a work day, the protestors began trickling in from all the corners this afternoon to the ground in south Mumbai, from where the Mahatma had given the clarion call of Quit India against the colonial British rule.

Bollywood stars Farhan Akhtar, Swara Bhaskar, Huma Qureshi and others were seen at the protest venue, interacting with protesters and voicing support for the anti-CAA movement. Filmmakers Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Saeed Mirza were also present at the Azad Maidan protest.

MAMATA DEMANDS UN-MONITORED REFERENDUM

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took out yet another protest rally in Kolkata on Thursday and challenged the Narendra Modi government at the Centre to go for an UN-monitored referendum over the amended Citizenship Act. Mamata said if the BJP is so confident of the Citizenship Act it should go for a mass vote on it along with the proposal to get all-India NRC.

Addressing a rally in the city, the Trinamool Congress supremo alleged that the BJP is trying to brand the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as a fight between Hindus and Muslims.

ASSAM PROTEST ON, INTERNET BACK SOON

Protests against the amended Citizenship Act continued across Assam on Thursday with several social bodies and opposition political parties organised sit-ins at Guwahati and other places of the state. No incident of violence was reported from anywhere.

The Assam government on Thursday said mobile internet services in the state will be restored from Friday though the Gauhati High Court had ordered restoration of the service by 5 pm on Thursday itself.

INTERNET SHUT DOWN IN UP

Mobile internet services have been suspended in Ghaziabad for 24 hours from 10 pm on Thursday in view of violent protests against the new citizenship law in parts of Uttar Pradesh. Internet has also been suspended in parts of Old City area in Lucknow. Internet was snapped in some parts of Meerut as well over the protests against the citizenship law.

Internet services remained suspended for at least part of the day at various places, including Aligarh, Sambhal, Mau and Azamgarh districts.

DELHI GETS CREATIVE WITH SLOGANS

From “pani mere nainan me, jitna water cannon me” to “section 144 tumhara, article 14 hamara”, it was creative slogans galore at various anti-CAA protests in the national capital on Thursday.

“Keep dividing, we will keep multiplying”, “Asking questions is not anarchy, abusing power is”, “Bol ke lab azad hain tere” (speak up you have the freedom to) and “Janta mange rozi roti, milti unko lathi gali” (public want employment but they get batons and abuses) echoed the protest-sites at Jantar Mantar and areas near the Red Fort and Mandi House.