Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act have escalated across the country over the past week. Thursday saw multiple protest rallies in the Capital and in cities across the country. There have been detentions of political leaders and intellectuals voicing their protest against the CAA.
The arterial roads in the Capital were congested with protesters taking to the streets and the police out in force. IndiGo Airlines had to cancel and reschedule flights, with crew and passengers stuck in traffic jams. Sixteen metro stations across the Capital were closed.
The protests against the CAA and the police action in Jamia Millia Islamia also echoed across the country.
We will keep updating this story through the day as events unfold.
ADMK on protests
The AIADMK was clear that CAA would not affect in whatever manner the citizenship of Indians living in the country, the Chief Minister said, adding that some opposition parties were deliberately instigating people to agitate. “How can you prevent such persons who are holding protests purposely?” Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami said.
Replying to another question, he said anti-CAA stirs were held in some parts of the state peacefully and there was no law and order issue. In a democratic set up people had every right to express their views peacefully. The state governments were duty bound to maintain law and order and there would be no issue at all if the protests were carried out peacefully without violence, he said.
Read the story here:No pressure on AIADMK to support CAA: Palaniswami
Challenging the Modi government to go for a UN-monitored referendum over the amended Citizenship Act and the proposed nationwide NRC, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that the BJP will have to quit if it fails such a “mass vote”.
Addressing a rally at Rani Rashmoni Avenue here, the Trinamool Congress supremo alleged that the BJP was trying to brand the protests against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as a fight between Hindus and Muslims in the country. “Just because BJP has got the majority doesn’t mean they can do whatever they want. If the BJP has guts, it should go for a United Nations-monitored referendum on the issue of Citizenship Amendment Act and the NRC,” Banerjee said.
“If the BJP looses this mass vote, then it should step down from the government,” she added.
Mild response in Gujarat
While shops in Muslim-dominated areas of Juhapura, Jamalpur, Gomtipur and Teen Darwaja were shut since morning, the bandh call, given by ‘Alp-Sankhyak Adhikar Manch’, failed to evoke response in other areas as commercial establishments remained open there, police said. A cloth market in Dhalgarwad area of old city remained shut since morning.
MEA briefs some US Congress members
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who is in the US, has shared India’s perspective on the amended citizenship law with members of US Congress, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.
Siddaramiah backs protests
In a series of tweets, the senior Congress Siddaramiah told Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa that he was being used as a pawn to fulfill the agenda of the RSS, and called on him to strengthen the forces that fight against fascism. “Mr Yediyurappa @BSYBJP, If you remember correctly, think about the number of protests you led against our govt. Though your later conviction proved that you lacked commitment, we are sure of our commitment towards our Constitution. Don’t be undemocratic!!” Siddaramaiah said.
“Mr. @BSYBJP Yediyurappa, You are being used as a pawn to fulfill the agenda of RSS. You are falling to their trap. They’re coming for you!! Be aware, Be watchful!! Strengthen the forces that fight against fascism!!” he said in another tweet.
For the full story, click:Don’t be undemocratic, Siddaramiah tells BS Yediyurappa
Internet services curtailed in Delhi
In the Capital, Internet providers were asked to to shut down certain apps between 9AM and 1PM. Telecom/ Internet service providers such as Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone-Idea have been told by the Centre to shut down their Internet till 1PM, sources have confirmed.
While officially, the operators including Airtel, Voda-Idea and Jio have declined to comment, sources from the companies have confirmed the development.
"Voice, data, SMS shutdown from 9AM to 1PM in some parts only," said one of the sources from an operator.
The places where the Internet has been shut down include Jamia Nagar, Shaheen Bagh, Okhla, Seelampur, Jaffrabad and Mandi House, sources said.
The protests in Delhi-NCR have risen over the last two days and according to reports Section 144 has also been imposed in the Capital.
Airlines offers rescheduling/cancellation fee waiver
New Delhi: IndiGo has offered a rescheduling/cancellation fee waiver (fare difference, if any is applicable) to passengers travelling to/from Delhi for today, December 19 till 1800 hrs. Passengers could chat with the airline at https://bit.ly/34CILtO or at 01246173838 or 9910383838.
So far, IndiGo has cancelled 19 flights and delayed 16 due to crew getting stuck in traffic jams and other issues.
This has been done due to the ongoing protests in certain areas of Delhi and NCR, and the restrictions on traffic into Delhi capital, especially from Gurgaon.
“We are monitoring the situation and will take proactive measures if further cancellations are required. All passengers will be pro-actively informed. However, since communication lines have been affected, passengers are requested to check our website,'' the airline said.
The airline has also blocked hotel rooms near the airport to keep its crew ready to be deployed at short notice
Passengers were finding it difficult to reach the airport due to protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, which has thrown vehicular traffic in Delhi out of gear.
SpiceJet, Vistara and other airlines have also advised their passengers to give themselves more time to reach the airport in view of the heavy traffic congestion on the Delhi-Gurugram highway.
Sources in Vistara said that none of its flights were cancelled though there were delays to about eight flights.
An Air India spokesperson said that eight flights had been delayed with the delay ranging from 20 minutes to 100 minutes
Section 144 invoked in Delhi, UP
Thousands of people were arrested and detained by the Police in Delhi and its surrounding areas as people took to the streets to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
The Delhi-Gurugram highway was witness to heavy traffic congestion as the police is said to be checking each of the vehicles on the Delhi-Gurugram border.
Delhi Traffic Police tweeted: "Traffic is heavy in the carriageway from Aya Nagar Border to Delhi and Kapashera Border to Delhi due to demonstration."
In another tweet "Traffic is heavy in the carriageway from Delhi Gate to GPO due to Swabhiman Rally. Traffic affected on Subhash Marg, Peeli Kothi, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Marg, Red Fort, Old Delhi railway station”.
The administration in Delhi and neighbouring Uttar Pradesh invoked Section 144 to prevent people from gathering in public. In Delhi a number of metro stations were closed and the Internet has been shut in some areas of the city.
The leaders of the Left parties were arrested much before a protest announced by them against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Senior Left leaders Sitaram Yechury, Prakash Karat, D Raja and Brinda Karat were taken into police custody. Yechury told presspersons from a police vehicle that the protests would continue despite the arrests. They were later released and addressed students near Jantar Mantar soon after their release.
The CPI(M) alleged that the Centre has imposed an unannounced curfew in the Capital to curb the protests. "People are being detained from Mandi House, including senior leaders of the Communist Parties. We condemn this attitude of the Govt which cannot tolerate democracy. Our Shame," the party said in a statement in Twitter.
Coming down on the government for blocking Internet services, the Congress said “Blocking communications and the Internet has become the new normal in India. But no matter how hard the Government tries to silence the citizens, the people will continue to voice their dissent against the unconstitutionality of the CAA,” the party said.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi said the voice of a people cannot be silenced by force. “Every time force is applied to dominate and rule, every time you beat and suppress, every time you push people to the wall, they will rise up stronger, their resolve will strengthen and their voice will grow louder. Our freedom movement was proof of this, our Constitution is the guarantor of it and our people are the soul of it,” she added.
AAP MLA offers injured Jamia student a job
New Delhi: AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan on Thursday announced Rs 5 lakh and a job at the Delhi Waqf Board to a Jamia student who suffered an eye injury during a protest against the amended Citizenship Act.
The Okhla MLA, who is also the chairman of the Delhi Waqf Board, said he will meet Minhajuddin, an LLM student of Jamia, to provide him the financial help and appointment papers on Thursday.
Minhajuddin was injured on Sunday when the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protest at Jamia Millia Islamia turned violent.
Students taken into preventive custody
Hyderabad: Several students and protesters from the Universities of Osmania, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Hyderabad Central were taken into custody as they were protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and in solidarity with students in Delhi and other parts of the country.
The Hyderabad Police has denied permission for holding of any form of protest or rallies and processions within the city limits.
Meanwhile, prominent writers, academics, journalists and civil rights activists staged a ‘Silent Protest’ against the CAA, which they claimed violated the secular and democratic spirit of the constitution. The protesters gathered at the Makhdoom Mohiuddin statue on the Tank Bund in Hyderabad under the banner of the Progressive Writers' Association and Urdu Writers' Association, Telangana.
They displayed placards with slogans such as ‘Don’t Meddle with the Constitution”, ‘Stop Violence against Students’, ‘Discrimination among the Religions: Play with Fire’ and ‘India Rejects Communalism’.
They claimed that the CAA to provide citizenship to Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians from the Muslim majority countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, specifically excluded Muslims. They condemned the police's high-handed attack on the students of Jamia Millia University, Aligarh Muslim University and at some other places.
The Associations also condemned the ban on protests against the CAA in Hyderabad and elsewhere in Telangana as it violated the right of freedom of expression and dissent guaranteed under the Constitution.
In a statement here on Thursday, R V Rama Rao. President, Progressive Writers` Association, Telangana demanded the government to immediately revoke prohibitory orders against the peaceful protests in the state.
During the past few days, students of the Osmania University, University of Hyderabad and the MAANU have been holding protests and demonstrating in solidarity with the students of JNU, AMU, Jamia Millia University.
Also read: 16 Delhi metro stations closed
Protesters detained near Red Fort
Scores of protestors were detained by the Delhi Police near Red Fort when they tried to take out a march to protest the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in defiance of the prohibitory orders imposed there.
Swarajya Abhiyan chief Yogendra Yadav, former JNU student Umar Khalid and ex-JNUSU president N Sai Balaji were among those who were detained, officials said. “I have just been detained from Lal Qila. About a thousand protesters already detained. Thousands on the way. Am told we are being taken to Bawana,” Yadav tweeted.
“I know many of our mates are being detained, despite that many have gathered here. The citizenship of this country cannot be divided and this is our protest call today,” Yadav said. Protesters, which included activists and students, were dragged into buses in a bid to clear the area. Holding placards and shouting slogans, the protesters allowed themselves to be escorted to the buses.
“Picked up by Delhi Police from Red Fort. We had gathered to protest against the divisive CAB-NRC on Ashfaq & Bismil’s martyrdom day. I appeal to all peacefully keep protesting till unconstitutional CAB-NRC is rolled back. This is something we owe to Ashfaq & Bismil’s sacrifice,” Khalid tweeted.
The Delhi Police has urged protesters to go to the designated place for their protest. “Police have divided the protesters. Thousands of people started moving towards Red Fort from different directions, including Daryaganj, Turkman gate and Jama Masjid, at 10 am. Some protesters, who could reach Chandni Chowk, were baton-charged, forced into buses and taken to Bawana. We were stopped in between, were not allowed to move forward,” Amjad, one of the protestors, said.
Two protests are scheduled in the national capital, one by students and activists and the other by left parties. The two marches are to meet at Shaheen Park near ITO.
Kamal Haasan criticises police action against Guha, Yadav
Chennai: The Makkal Needhi Maiam chief Kamal Haasan on Thursday lashed out at the police action against historian Ramchandra Guha and Swaraj Abhiyaan chief Yogendra Yadav during the anti-CAA protests, and expressed “concern” over their safety. Yadav and Guha were detained by the police in Delhi and Bengaluru, respectively.
In a tweet, Haasan said he was applauding with “glee the stupidity of the government for stoking the fire of Satyagaraha by arresting” Guha and Yadav.
“I applaud with glee at the stupidity of the government for stoking the fire of Satyagraha by arresting the thinking and questioning minds of India like @Ram_Guha & @_YogendraYadav,” he said in the tweet.
“Yet I am concerned for their safety. India stands with you,” he added.
Yadav was among those protesters who were detained by the Delhi Police near Red Fort when they tried to take out a march in defiance of the prohibitory orders imposed to protest the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Guha was detained in Bengaluru when he and many others defied prohibitory orders to protest against the CAA.
Protest in Chandigarh
Scores of people, including students, on Thursday demonstrated against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens. The protesters have gathered near the grounds outside the Sector 20 mosque here and will take out a march.
They also plan to submit a memorandum to Punjab Governor and Chandigarh Administrator V P Singh Badnore to express their resentment against the amended Citizenship Act and the NRC. A student protester said that they were also protesting in a show of solidarity with the students of Jamia Millia Islamia and several other universities across the country.
Maharashtra Congress leaders on hunger strike
Pune: Locals Congress leaders sat on a hunger strike here in Maharashtra on Thursday to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the police crackdown on students of the Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi.
They said the government was trying to divide the country by bringing in the new citizenship law.
Several Congress functionaries, led by city party unit president Ramesh Bagve, sat on a hunger strike on Fergusson College Road here in the morning.
Bagve condemned the police “brutalities” on students of the Jamia Millia Islamia university on Sunday after their protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
“We condemn the CAA as the government is trying to create a divide in the country by passing such an Act,” he alleged.