Protests against the amended citizenship law continued at several places across the country on Tuesday. In Delhi’s Seelampur, angry protesters torched several motor bikes, pelted stones at policemen. While PM Modi blamed the opposition for the protests, home minister Amit Shah made it clear that the law would be implemented. The opposition meanwhile, petitioned the President. Here are the top developments and reactions:
Violence in Delhi’s Seelampur area
Twenty-one people, including 12 policemen and six civilians, were injured in violence that erupted during a protest against the amended Citizenship Act in Delhi’s Seelampur on Tuesday, police said. According to a police officer, two FIRs have also been registered at Seelampur and Jafrabad police stations in connection with the violence. Three personnel of Rapid Action Force (RAF) were injured, the officer said. Angry protesters torched several motor bikes, pelted stones at police personnel and damaged buses and a police booth in northeast Delhi’s Seelampur area.
Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik briefed Union home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla and other senior officials of the ministry on the violence at Jamia Milia University and Seelampur during anti-CAA protests and the prevailing situation in the national capital, officials said. Union home minister Amit Shah said he has directed the Delhi Police to maintain law and order and to ensure peace in the national capital.
Protests over citizenship law continue in Bengal
Road and rail blockades continued in parts of West Bengal today, though no major incidents of violence were reported, even as rallies were taken out to protest against the citizenship law. Districts like Malda and Murshidabad, which have seen violent protests over the last few days, were relatively calm, police said. In North 24 Parganas’ Basirhat area, a road was blocked for a few hours with agitators raising slogans against the amended Citizenship Act.
Protesters also blocked roads and set tyres on fire in Tehatta and Dhubalia areas of the Nadia district. In South 24 Parganas, protesters blocked roads and railway tracks in Diamond Harbour. Railway officials said all trains from northeast and north Bengal to Kolkata have been cancelled owing to the protests.
PM Modi dares Congress to say it’s ready to accord Indian citizenship to all Pakistanis
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
The Prime Minister asked Jamia Milia Islamia students to see whether they were not being made accomplices in a “conspiracy” where “urban naxals” and others were using their “shoulders to fire” to serve their own interests. Addressing an election rally in Jharkhand, Modi sought to assuage concerns of Indians apprehensive about getting stripped of their citizenship. “The Congress is spreading lies, creating an atmosphere of fear for Muslims over the new law. Citizenship (Amendment) Act neither takes away the rights of Indian citizens nor harms them in any manner,” he told an election rally here. The Prime Minister asked his political opponents to stop “dirty politics” and not to destroy the country’s social fabric.
Opposition parties knock on President’s doors, seek his intervention
Opposition leaders today knocked on the doors of President Ram Nath Kovind, seeking his intervention in repealing the “unconstitutional and divisive” citizenship amendment law and forming a commission of inquiry to probe violent protests and the police action. A delegation of leaders of a dozen opposition parties, led by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, submitted a memorandum to the president appealing to him to “advise” the government to withdraw the legislation and “safeguard our Constitution from being violated”.
Talking to reporters later, Gandhi alleged the Modi government was “shutting down” people’s voices and bringing legislations which are not acceptable to them. “…(we) met the President to plead with him to intervene in the situation in the northeast, which is now spreading throughout the country…because of the act. It is a very serious situation. We fear that it may spread even further. We are anguished at the manner in which the police have dealt with peaceful demonstrations across India,” she said. She said police personnel entered women’s hostels in Jamia Millia Islamia and “mercilessly” beat up students who were demonstrating, which is their democratic right.
Modi government firm on implementing Citizenship Amendment Act: Amit Shah
Amid opposition efforts to corner the government over Citizenship Amendment Act, Union home minister Amit Shah today said that Modi government was firm on implementing the new law which gives citizenship rights to non-Muslim refugees from three neighbouring countries. “I want to say (to opposition) oppose politically as much as you want, but Narendra Modi government is firm and we will ensure that people who have been deprived of their rights for so many years will be given citizenship,” the home minister said at the foundation stone-laying ceremony of Bharat Vandana Park in east Delhi. “They will become citizens of India and will live here with dignity,” he said.
Students protest at Madras University in Chennai
A section of the students of the Madras Universtiy continued their protest for the second day on Tuesday against the amendment to the Citizenship Act by staying put inside the Marina campus, as police entered the premises.
The protesters sat on the sprawling campus, which is just opposite the Marina beach, seeking withdrawal of the amendment and raised slogans against the amendment to the Citizenship Act. Police personnel, meanwhile, arrived inside the varsity’s campus. The Madras University is one of the oldest in the country and students of the varsity are among others in Tamil Nadu who have been protesting against the CAA.
Jamia files complaint with police over crackdown on campus
The Jamia Millia Islamia today filed a complaint in connection with the police crackdown on the campus on Sunday night. According to the spokesperson of the university, a complaint has been sent to the SHO of Jamia Nagar police station, a copy of which has also been sent to the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) of southeast district.
The university’s vice chancellor had on Monday said it would file a complaint against unidentified persons who had entered the campus, damaged property and harassed students. Meanwhile, a section of Delhi University (DU) students on Tuesday protested against the amended citizenship law and condemned the police crackdown on Jamia Millia Islamia students. The protest was organised by the Left-backed All India Students’ Association and women’s collective Pinjra Tod, who claimed that Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists targeted “women wearing hijab”, a charge denied by the RSS-affiliate.
CAA protests: Tension in some areas around AMU, 26 people released
Tension gripped some localities adjoining the Aligarh Muslim University campus today, as people started collecting at crossings and raised slogans against amended Citizenship Act. But there was marked improvement from the situation the previous days, after clashes between AMU students and the police on Sunday. Twenty-six people arrested after those clashes were released late Monday night.
Shopkeepers in Jamalpur and Dodhpur downed shutters as tension erupted briefly. A police force was rushed to these spots and the situation defused. “We managed to persuade the protesters with help of local community leaders and announcements from mosques that their concerns would be conveyed to government and that their interests would not be served by taking law in their hands,” SP city Abhishek told PTI. Protests were also held in the highly-sensitive Upper Court area.
SC refuses to set up panel to inquire into violent incidents during students protest
The Supreme Court today refused to set up a committee of a retired apex court judge to inquire into the allegations of police atrocities against students and incidents of violence during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) at Aligarh and Jamia universities, and asked the petitioners to approach respective high courts with their grievances. The apex court said the high courts, after looking into all the aspects and hearing both sides, may appoint fact finding committees to inquire into the allegations and they would also pass orders with regard to arrest and medical treatment to those injured in the protests.
Who said what:
In the wake of violent protest in Seelampur area, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal today appealed to Delhiites to maintain peace, saying violence cannot be tolerated in a civilised society. Angry protesters demanding scrapping of the amended citizenship law torched several motor bikes, pelted stones at police personnel and damaged public buses in northeast Delhi’s Seelampur area.
Amid ongoing protests over Citizenship Amendment Act in the national capital, Delhi lieutenant governor Anil Baijal today appealed the people to maintain peace and not to get involved in any kind of violence. “I appeal to all to maintain peace. Do not get involved in any kind of violence and immediately inform Delhi Police about violent elements,” Baijal tweeted.
Cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir today criticised the use of force against students but said police will have to retaliate if “unwanted elements” indulge in violence. “I said lathi charging students is wrong but if something has happened due to self protection then it is not wrong,” said Gambhir when asked to comment on the police crackdown on students of Jamia Millia Islamia, who were protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee today said a person’s political views cannot be ascertained by his or her clothes, hitting back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comment that those indulging in violence over the citizenship law could be identified by their attires. Alleging that the BJP government has failed to provide “roti, kapda aur makaan” to the people, she claimed that it is trying to snatch the rights of 10 lakh people via the NRC and amended Citizenship Act.
BSP president Mayawati today voiced concern over violent clashes in different parts of the country over the amended Citizenship Act, saying such incidents happen when the government “disregards” the Constitution to serve its selfish interests. She asked the Centre to withdraw CAA in the interest of the country and the Constitution or else it could have a damaging impact.
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad urged the opposition parties not to foment communal tension in the country over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, which seeks to provide citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from three countries in India’s neighbourhood. “opposition parties are going to meet the President. They have the right to meet President. But I urge them not to foment communal tension in the country. There should be peace in the country,” Prasad said.
( With inputs from agencies)