Violent protests hit east Delhi areas as CAA anger spreads - GulfToday

Violent protests hit east Delhi areas as CAA anger spreads


Protesters pelt stones during a protest at the Seelampur area of New Delhi on Tuesday. Associated Press

Resmi Sivaram

The Seelampur area in east Delhi remained tense as the sun set on Tuesday, after clashes between local people and the police that began around noon and stretched for hours.

Stones and bottles were thrown by the crowds enraged by the police brutality on students who protested against the against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in the Jamia Milia campus on Sunday.

Police admitted that tear gas was fired at the Seelampur crowds. Batons were also used, but there was no firing, a police statement said.

Several people were injured and at least a dozen were in hospital with wounds.

The police later took away protesters numbering about 100 from the site of the incident. More than 1,000 protesters had come out on the streets at around 2pm. People from the area gathered at a prominent crossing for a protest march from Seelampur towards Jafrabad. Sources say trouble broke out when the crowd was asked to disperse.

Local people in the area allege that a group of 10 or 20 people vandalised a school bus and the police swung into action. Peaceful protests were going on in the area since the past two days.

Alok Kumar, Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police, said, “No bullet has been fired. Only tear gas shells used. Situation is under control now. Some police personnel are injured.

“Two public transport buses, one Rapid Action Force bus and some bikes damaged during the protest.” A school bus was damaged and a police picket was set on fire, local people reached on the phone said. Several cars were also reportedly vandalised.

Visuals showed armed policemen in riot gear facing a large crowd in Seelampur, a thickly-populated colony in northeast Delhi prone to flare-up. Protesters were seen throwing bricks at the police.

The entry and exit gates at six metro stations were shut, according to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). These include Seelampur, Gokulpuri, Welcome, Jaffrabad and Maujpur-Babarpur metro stations.

“Trains will not be halting at these stations,” DMRC tweeted.

Road traffic has been restricted in the area.

This is the second incident of violence, two days after a protest march by students of the Jamia Millia University on Sunday turned violent. The police barged into the university campus and allegedly targeted students.

An initial probe said that criminal elements, and not students, were involved in arson and vandalism near Jamia Millia, sources at the Ministry of Home Affairs said. The probe established that the police did not open fire at the protesters, they claimed.

However, a medical report of one of the students injured in his leg says it was a bullet shot. The MHA stood firm on the argument that the bullet came from criminal elements who joined the protests to incite violence. An empty cartridge was found in the area that bore the brunt of the violence on Sunday.

Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court after hearing the allegations of police excesses on students protesting against the new citizenship law at Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University, said high courts should be approached first. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said, “We don’t want to spend time knowing facts, you should go to courts below first.”

The top court said that if anybody commits offence then the police is free to arrest, adding that injured students should get medical attention.

It also said that incidents have taken place at various places, one inquiry cannot be ordered in these cases. The court also asked as to how buses were burnt during the protests.

CJI Bobde asked the Centre to give details as to why notices were not given to protesters before the arrest and whether medical assistance was given.

Jamia vice-chancellor Najma Akhtar had backed her students all the way and sought action against the police for entering the university campus with the administration’s permission.

“How can police enter a central university campus without permission and break things?” Akhtar said at a press conference on Monday after the university’s Executive Council meeting.

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