Dispersed crowds hold massive anti-CAA protest at Jantar Mantar

Delhi Police stopped many from taking out rallies at Mandi House, Red Fort

December 20, 2019 01:50 am | Updated December 21, 2019 11:44 am IST - New Delhi

Yogendra Yadav addressing students and leaders of Left parties at Jantar Mantar on Thursday.

Yogendra Yadav addressing students and leaders of Left parties at Jantar Mantar on Thursday.

Thousands of protesters opposing the amended Citizenship Act, who were stopped by the police from taking out rallies from Mandi House and Red Fort, and the ones who were detained during the day, made their way to Jantar Mantar to hold demonstrations denouncing the Act on Thursday.

“After today’s protests, this day will go down in history,” said Yogendra Yadav, addressing a crowd at Jantar Mantar on Thursday evening. He was detained form Red Fort here earlier in the day.

Permission for Left parties’ protest march from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar had been denied shortly before it was scheduled to begin. “The police were detaining people left, right and centre and tried to scatter us.” said Srinjoyee Dutta (27), an ad hoc professor at Indraprastha College for Women.

“I saw the police taking away at least four bus loads of people from Mandi House.” said Shuddhabrata Sengupta, an alumnus of Jamia Milia Islamia. If the government wants to divide the protesters, the city will witness more protests,” he added.

A large crowd gathered at Barakhamba metro station awaiting an update about the latest location of the protest following police action at Mandi House. After some initial confusion, the protesters were informed about a protest at Jantar Mantar by the police.

Several protesters expressed discontent over the authorities’ attempts to disrupt the protests. “As students, we have the right to carry out peaceful protests and we should be allowed to exercise it,” said Kirtana, a student of Shiv Nadar University.

Amid loud chants of “Azadi”, “Inquilab Zindabad” and other slogans and songs, those protesting at Jantar Mantar included students, professors, members of political parties, members of the civil society and locals alike. Calling the amended Citizenship Act “unconstitutional” and “unsecular”, Nivedya P.T. from IP College For Women said, “The government should not have brought in a legislation that discriminates against a particular section of the society and we all stand against it.”

Prodipto Deb, a student of Ambedkar University who was also present at Mandi House said, “I am here to stand in solidarity with students of Jamia, Aligarh and Assam. However, the violence in AMU and Gauhati University has gone largely unreported and we must remember that as well.”

Many senior citizens were also part of the protests on Thursday. Ahmed Raza, (66), a retired scientist from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, said: “ I am here to stand against the brutal and fascist law that has been introduced by the government. The way the judiciary has surrendered to this regime of goons is absolutely unfortunate.” Sonia Kidwai (62) and Deblina Kohli (59), who also took part in the protest, said, “We are responsible citizens and we feel this law is unfair.”

National Secretary of CPI-backed All India Trade Union Congress, Sukumar Damle, said: “This rally is against the Act that is meant to divide this country and puts the issues of the working class on the back burner. The Act is meant to divert people’s attention from the real issues in this country, like economic slowdown and inflation.” This Act is not only against the Muslims, but everyone and therefore, we demand its abrogation, he added.

Around 8 p.m. as various social activists, including Medha Pathkar and Mr. Yadav were addressing the crowd, commending their resolve, protesters dispersed after being pushed out of the area by the police.

More protests have been planned in the coming days.

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