Tension prevailed in north-east Delhi’s Maujpur area after a clash broke out between pro- and anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protesters on Sunday.
The incident was reported around 1 km from the Jaffarabad Metro Station, where one side of the carriageway had been blocked by anti-CAA protesters since morning. After slogan shouting from both sides, the groups started pelting each other with stones, leading to chaos in the area.
In the Hauz Rani area of south Delhi, women protesters alleged that policemen brutally thrashed and lathi charged them when they were marching in support of the ‘Bharat bandh’ called by the Bhim Army. They also alleged that many women fainted but the police refused to let them access a hospital nearby.
Bharatiya Janata Party’s Kapil Mishra reached the Maujpur chowk with around 300 people and staged a sit-in in support of the CAA at 4 p.m. A group of anti-CAA protesters also reached the location. Both groups started shouting slogans. Simultaneously, a group came from a narrow lane and hurled stones at the pro-CAA protesters, said a police officer.
The officer added that both sides threw stones at each other for half an hour, till more police personnel reached the location to control the situation. “There were only a handful of policemen and they were outnumbered by the crowd. After reinforcement arrived, we controlled the situation.”
“We used tear gas to disperse the crowd,” added the police officer. A few people suffered injuries in the stone pelting. They had been rushed to a hospital, said the police.
Similar protests, which mirrored the Shaheen Bagh sit-in, started in Khureji Khaas in Karawal Nagar and Chandbagh in northeast Delhi, and Hauz Rani in South Delhi on Sunday, prompting police to step up security.
For security reasons, the entry and exit gates of Jaffrabad and Maujpur-Babarpur Metro were closed. The 400-metre-stretch between Maujpur traffic signal, where a temple is located, to Babarpur station, was strewn with bricks and stones after the clashes.
The two groups blamed each other for starting the violence.
Sources said clashes began soon after a gathering called by BJP leader Kapil Mishra who demanded that the police remove anti-CAA protestors within three days. Taking to Twitter, Mr. Mishra said, “We have given a three-day ultimatum to the Delhi Police to get the road cleared. Get the Jaffrabad and Chandbagh road cleared.”
Delhi police personnel later stopped the pro-CAA protestors when they tried to march towards Kardampuri where another anti-CAA protest was underway. The security personnel formed a human-chain to separate the groups and defuse tension.
“We are trying to identify the people behind the incident,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Eastern Range) Alok Kumar told reporters, adding that the situation was under control.
A large number of anti-CAA protesters in Jaffarabad blocked one side of the carriageway outside the Jaffarabad Metro Station.
“We are not going to move from here unless our demands are fulfilled... unless the government takes back CAA and NRC. I have not been able to attend college because of this. How will I focus on making my career when our government is trying to snatch our right to live here peacefully?” said Mahi Khan, a protester.
“We are speaking to local leaders so that peace prevails in the area. We are also requesting protesters to clear the main road,” said Mr. Kumar. He said police had been deployed at the Maujpur area to prevent untoward incidents.