New Delhi, December 27: Protests against the recently enacted citizenship law continued across the country on Friday in a peaceful manner.
Braving cold weather, hundreds of protesters, many of whom gathered after offering Friday prayers at the Old Delhi’s iconic Jama Masjid, took out peaceful demonstrations, under a heavy security cover and drone surveillance in the national capital, against the Citizenship Amendment Act, whereas in Mumbai a large number of people took part in pro and anti-CAA rallies.
In Kolkata, where chief minister Mamata Baneerjee has been at the forefront of protests against the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the new citizenship law, the opposition Left Front and the Congress took out a joint rally to oppose the CAA.
With last Friday’s memories still fresh in the minds of the security personnel and the local administration when the anti-CAA protests turned violent after Friday prayers in Uttar Pradesh as well as in the national capital, security was enhanced and patrolling intensified in sensitive areas across UP to ensure peace during the prayers.
Flag marches were conducted in some areas of Delhi’s Northeast district and heavy police force was deployed in parts of the city.
Apart from the Jama Masjid, a protest was also held in Jor Bagh while the planned ‘gherao’ of UP Bhawan by the Jamia Millia Islamia students was foiled by the Delhi Police as protesters were detained as soon as they reached the venue.
The Delhi Police on Friday detained at least 350 protesters, including women, outside the UP Bhawan in the national capital as people tried to stage protest against alleged police brutalities in the state following agitations over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, officials said.
The protest, organised by the Jamia Coordination Committee, had called for a “gherao” of the UP Bhawan, where prohibitory orders were clamped under section 144 of CrPC.
However, the JCC later said in a statement that the gherao did not take place because of the police crackdown and a memorandum prepared by JCC could not be submitted.
It also condemned the “ridiculous action” of the police.
Hundreds of people with their hands tied marched towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s residence to demand the release of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad and to protest against the new law but were stopped on the way by police.
Azad was arrested for allegedly instigating protesters to indulge in violence in old Delhi’s Daryaganj area last Friday.
They said they ties their hands so that they could not be blamed for violence and arson during the protest.
Slogans like ‘Tanashahi nahi chalegi’, ‘CAA murdabad’, ‘Aazad ko Azad karo’ resonated through the day at several protests in Delhi.
Congress leader Alka Lamba and former Delhi MLA Shoaib Iqbal were among those who joined the demonstrations.
In Mumbai, students and social activists held a protest against the CAA and the NRC at the Azad Maidan, while a large number of people gathered for a pro-CAA rally at the historic August Kranti Maidan, where a massive anti-CAA demonstration was held last week.
At Azad Maidan, protesters shouted slogans against the government with one of the protesters alleging that the act was aimed “not against just one community but against the whole country.”
The joint rally in Kolkata was led by West Bengal Congress president Somen Mitra and senior Left Front leaders.
Carrying posters and placards against the BJP-led Union government, Congress and LF members shouted slogans against bringing in the ‘divisive’ CAA.
The issue of CAA has been a major flashpoint in Bengal politics with Chief Minister Banerjee declaring that it will not be implemented in the state.
The state has witnessed violent protests and arson earlier this month.
The police said there was no report of any untoward incident from anywhere in Uttar Pradesh where around 20 people have lost their lives in violence during protests.
The state was placed under a thick security cover with deployment of central paramilitary forces in sensitive areas. Internet services were suspended in many places to check rumour-mongering, officials said.
In Ajmer, a large number of Muslims, including khadims of the famous Ajmer dargah, took out a protest march against the amended act, demanding its rollback.
The march started from the dargah and concluded at the collectorate, after passing through the crowded Dargah Bazaar. (PTI)