Scores of Jamia Millia students and residents of Jamia Nagar on Monday got into a scuffle with police after they were stopped from carrying an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act march towards Parliament.
IMAGE: Police baton-charges protesters to push them back during their march against the amended Citizenship Act, NRC and NPR, near Jamia Nagar in New Delhi, on Monday. Photograph: Arun Sharma/PTI Photo
The protest call was given by the Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC), an organisation of Jamia students and alumni.
Despite repeated appeals from the police and the varsity authorities, the protesters refused to end their agitation.
Police said the protesters did not have permission to march towards Parliament.
Amid heavy deployment of security personnel in and around the university, the protesters, including several women, began their march from Jamia’s gate no 7.
The protesters raised slogans like ‘Kagaz Nahi Dikhayenge‘ (We will not show documents) and ‘Jab Nahi Dare Hum Goron Se Toh Kyun Dare Hum Auron Se‘ (When we did not fear the British, why should we fear others).
Men formed a human chain on either sides of roads as women walked ahead, waving the tricolour and raising slogans of ‘Halla Bol’.
“It has been two months since we are protesting. No one from the government has come to talk to us, so we want to go to talk to them,” said Zeba Anhad.
A scuffle ensued as policemen tried to stop the protesters. Many of them jumped over barricades to continue their march towards Parliament.
Jamia Millia Islamia proctor Waseem Ahmed Khan appealed to the students to disperse and not meddle with the police.
“The message has been sent. I request students in the crowd to go back to the university. Respect the law and peacefully go back,” he urged the students.
The CAA allows easier citizenship for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Parsis and Jains who came to India from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh before 2015 to escape religious persecution there.
Those opposing the CAA contend that it discriminates on the basis of religion and violates the Constitution. They also allege that the CAA along with the National Register of Citizens is intended to target the Muslim community in the country.
However, the central government has dismissed the allegations, maintaining that the law is intended to give citizenship to the persecuted minorities from the three neighbouring countries and not to take away anyone’s citizenship.
Hundreds march to Jantar Mantar against CAA, NRC
Hundreds of protesters, including students and civil society members, poured onto the streets in central Delhi on Monday protesting against the amended citizenship law and the National Register of Citizens.
The protesters, carrying placards and banners of all sizes and colours, converged at Mandi House around 11 am and started marching towards Jantar Mantar where they reached around 12.30 pm via Barakhamba Road and Tolstoy Road.
A large number of police and paramilitary personnel walked along with them.
“The protesters do not have permission to take out a march, but as long as they maintain peace, we do not have a problem,” a police official said.
The protest call was given by the Welfare Party of India.
The protesters, however, claimed that they had the permission and would march till Jantar Mantar.
Children as young as 10, senior citizens, civil society members and university students filled the streets and ran the length of central Delhi, shouting anti-CAA and anti-government slogans.
Mohammad Shareef, who came to New Delhi from Kanpur, said his son Mohammad Rais, 30, was shot dead by police when while returning after offering namaz.
“On December 20, Rais was returning home after offering namaz. He used to sell ‘papad‘ and also worked in marriage functions. During the commotion, Rais started running when the police shot him.
“The people from the locality took him to my house and I rushed him to a hospital. Not even a single person came to my house and asked how we were. Police misbehaved with us. Rais was killed by police when he was returning home after taking his money which he earned at the marriage function,” said Shareef.
The protesters carried the photographs of freedom fighters Bhagat Singh and Chandrasekhar Azad and social reformer Savitribai Phule, and demanded that the government revoke the ‘black law’.
Another victim Aftab Alam’s mother said her son did not participate in any protest.
“After the death of his father, my son used to work as a mason. He was shot dead by the police when he went to offer namaz in Kanpur. The incident took place at Babu Purwa area and the bullet hit on his left side of the chest,” she said.
The wife of Dr Kafeel Khan, who was in September acquitted of all negligence and corruption charges in the Gorakhpur BRD Hospital tragedy, and brother of Sharjeel Imam, arrested on sedition charges, also participated in the march.
Siraj Talib, the national secretary of the Welfare Party of India, “We are protesting against the CAA and the NRC. We have permission, I have spoken to police and we are marching towards Jantar Mantar.”
The protesters were raising anti-CAA, anti-government and anti-Bharatiya Janata Party slogans.
They were also carrying placards with messages, which read ‘reject CAA and NRC’ and ‘we Indians standing against NRC and reject Citizenship Amendment Act’.
Riyasat Malik, 20, who works in a private organisation, said that he along with around 80 women, came here from Sunder Nagri to support the anti-CAA protest.
“Just like Shaheen Bagh, scores of women in Sunder Nagri are also sitting in protest against this newly amended law. They got to know about this march yesterday and came here in its support. This would not stop here and the government will need to revoke this law,” Malik said.
Abdul Ghaffar, 61, who came to join the protest from Ghaziabad, said they want the government to listen to them.
“The government has already cleared its stand after amending the law, but now we want them to listen us as well.
“We are not fighting with them, they are our leaders and our government also. We want to tell them our grievances,” said Ghaffar.