CAA stir in Bengaluru: Hundreds of students brave arrest, demand repeal of citizenship law – Times of India

BENGALURU: Hundreds of students on Tuesday marched from various parts of the city to Freedom Park to register their resentment against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019, undeterred by police detaining about 30 of them for protesting without police permission.
Incidentally, the demonstration wasn’t held under the aegis of any outfit and was mobilised by volunteers on social media. Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp groups were abuzz for 2-3 days with the announcement of Tuesday’s stir at Town Hall. With police denying nod, the protest turned into spontaneous marches from at least half a dozen colleges to Freedom Park.
Five students were detained near Town Hall in the forenoon after police claimed they were holding the protest without any permission. A student, however, said cops detained them without any provocation.
An eyewitness said the students had reached the venue for the protest when police asked them to move. When the protesters asked why they couldn’t wait for the others, they were told the agitation was cancelled and they had to leave.
Policemen allegedly dragged the protesters into a police van. Soon, a video showing more than five policewomen dragging a girl into their vehicle even as her friends latch on to her went viral. All the five students were released from SJ Park Police station around 3pm.
Similar detentions were held at National Gallery of Modern Art, Vasanthnagar. Police said it was preventive detention and all the students were released by evening.
Though most college administrations had asked students to stay away from protests against CAA, they had come together on their own. At least 1,000 students managed to converge at Freedom Park around 12.30pm. A posse of 200 policemen camped at the park and disallowed students from entering. The students then moved to a small ground behind the park.
The venue soon resounded with slogans condemning ‘police brutality’ and seeking repeal of CAA 2019. “This is such a JNU vibe,” one of the protesters said as others joined in the calls of ‘azadi’. The students began calling for freedom from communalism, casteism, atrocities and ‘unfair government’.
A student who was detained near Town Hall and released later managed to reach Freedom Park around 3pm. “9 of us just released. Didn’t sign any bond…” she posted on her Instagram account from the protest venue.
Sharath Ravishankar, who was coordinating between different groups of protesters, said though they were not doing anything illegal or unconstitutional, policemen kept pushing them from one venue to another.
Boxes: Rally mobilised by social media
Shaikh Nahid and Mohammed Sufwan, both 21 years’ old, told TOI the protest was a collective effort of students across the city. The duo said the plight of their Assamese friends also pushed them to join the stir. “My friend has been crying endlessly since she heard about the situation in Assam. She couldn’t contact her family immediately,” Sufwan said.
“I am with Assam, I am with Jamia and I am with Kashmir,” one of the protesters called out through the microphone with the wave of protesters joining in.
‘Govt insecure, we need to save democracy’
Soumya, a lecturer, was among the protesters. “CAA is unconstitutional and the treatment of students in parts of the country is proof of an insecure government,” she said.
Vaishnavi Suresh, a photographer and activist in the forefront of the protest, said: “Ultimately, the bill needs to be revoked. As citizens, we are also writing letters to local and central government officials. We need to save as much democracy as possible.” The 23-year-old said their next protest will be near Mysore Bank Circle on December 19.
Ramesh K, a 21-year-old student, flaunted his skull cap, saying: “They say protesters can be identified by the clothes they are wearing. I have put these clothes on as a show of solidarity to my friends here and in Jamia.”

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