“Kambal Chor U.P. Police (Blanket thief, U.P. police)” was trending on Twitter on Sunday after women protesters holding a sit-in against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) at Lucknow’s iconic Clocktower accused the police of snatching away their supplies, food items and blankets in the night.
Protesters posted videos showing policemen carrying away the supplies with them late on Saturday even as those demonstrating at the site raised an objection.
“Yogi’s police looting things from mothers and sisters. Look how they are looting things from the Clocktower,” Congress worker Sadaf Jafar posted on social media along with a video of the police carrying away the items.
Another protester said on Sunday morning, the third day of the protest: “There is no cooperation from the police. They snatched our blankets in the night. They didn’t give us the permission to put up a shelter. They took away all the eatables and blankets arranged by us from home.”
Braving the cold and foggy conditions, at least 500 women and children have been holding a sit-in under the Ghantaghar or Clocktower in old Lucknow since Friday. A heavy police force has been deployed at the site. On Saturday evening, the Rapid Action Force too staged a march around the Clocktower.
Since Saturday evening, police restricted entry of men into the protest zone, which was dominated by the presence of women raising slogans and holding up banners and placards against the CAA and the proposed nationwide National Register Citizens. Police said this was done on the request of the women protesters to prevent anti-social elements from sabotaging the demonstration.
Additional DCP Vikas Chandra Tripathi on Saturday evening said “legal action” would be taken against the protesters for violation of Section 144, which restricts assembly of more than four people. The protest is “illegal,” he told The Hindu , adding there was no question of providing permission to the protesters to hold their sit-in.
U.P. police issue clarification
Mr. Tripathi said some outfits were distributing blankets during the “illegal” dharna, following which a large number of people nearby, who were not a part of the demonstration, were also coming to collect the blankets.
“Police removed the blankets and the people of the organisation as per law,” he said, urging people not to spread rumours.
In another tweet, the U.P. police said they prevented some people from putting up a shelter with ropes and bamboo sticks. “ Kambalo ko vidhik tarike se kabze mein liya gaya (The blankets were seized as per the legal process),” police said.