Yogendra Yadav, Ramachandra Guha, Prashant Bhushan among many detained
GN Bureau | December 19, 2019
In a coordinated action, protesters against the new Citizenship (Amendment) Act held demonstrations in many cities and towns across the country on Thursday, though in most places police prevented them from staging marches. Section 144 was clamped in some parts, even as telephone and internet connectivity and metro services were affected for a while in select places.
Various organisations had given the call for protest demonstrations on December 19, marking the day when freedom fighters Ashfaqulla Khan and Ramprasad Bismil were hanged in 1927. Authorities in the BJP-ruled, however, pre-empted them by putting key places under Section 144.
In Delhi, Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan of Swaraj India had announced plans to take out a march from Red Fort to Shaheed Park, police denied them permission for protest, and detained them. They were released by evening. Moreover, Delhi Metro stations in the vicinity were closed, and telephone as well as internet services in parts of the capital were stopped for a few hours.
Elsewhere in Delhi, students of various universities tried to stage demonstrations in Mandi House, where the Left parties had announced their joint protest, and later at Jantar Mantar. Activist Harsh Mander was among those detained by police.
In Bangalore, the police had ordered Section 144 from 6 am Thursday. Historian-commentator Ramachandra Guha was detained when he was addressing a crowd of protesters.
From Mumbai to Kolkata, many cities and towns witnessed protests.
Earlier this week, a section of the students of the Jamia Millia University as well as of other educational institutions had held street protests. Sections of the faculty and students of many IITs and IIMs across the country have also lent their support to the snowballing agitation.
The amended citizenship law aims to grant citizenship to the religious minorities of the three neighbouring countries, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Critics oppose the granting of citizenship on religious basis and also fear the law can have far-reaching ramifications when clubbed with the proposed exercise of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
The move triggered demonstrations in Assam in particular, and the northeast in general. The government has maintained the minorities of the country has nothing to fear in the new law, and that the Congress is stoking the protests with misinformation.
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