Police more watchful about flash protests


Series of flash protests followed by large-scale impromptu gathering under Tolichowki flyover on Sunday night has put police officials on high alert. While they are vigilant about such gatherings, Joint Commissioner of Police (West Zone) A.R. Srinivas maintained that they became more watchful after Sunday’s flash protest, which took more than seven hours for the police to dissolve the gathering.

From little over three weeks, people started to stage flash protests against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC), National Population Register (NPR), in various parts of the State capital, including communally sensitive Old City. On New Year eve too, a group of youngsters holding placards against CAA, NRC, NPR, staged agitation near NTR Gardens.

However, the impromptu gathering at Tolichowki drew the attention of the masses as information was circulated on social media, urging people to come and participate. However, the space under the flyover was not the only choice for the gathering. Protesters said that they decided on it from four options: Dharna Chowk, Saidabad, Khilwat Ground and Tolichowki.

Anticipating such protests in days to come, the officer said “firm action will be taken against those who resort to such acts in future. Taking law into their hands cannot be accepted.”

Mr. Srinivas said that they are more watchful after the Tolichowki incident.

Speaking to The Hindu, another officer said that the police can prevent protests if they get specific information from sources or they physically see people gathering at a place. “If we get advance information, we can take people into preventive custody provided there is adequate time,” he said. When asked if the police would set up pickets during this period to prevent flash protest, the officer said they cannot anticipate when and where such gatherings might be held.

“With lack of workforce, we cannot establish pickets everywhere. However, there are pickets at sensitive locations in some parts of the city and our patrol teams extensively cover all areas,” the officer maintained.

However, police said that they will maintain vigil at some of the places where such gatherings are expected to be held.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 6:04:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/police-more-watchful-about-flash-protests/article30561154.ece

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