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CAA protests continue in Delhi

CAA protests continue in Delhi

New Delhi: Another wave of peaceful protest at the national Capital was witnessed on Friday as Jama Masjid area, Jantar Mantar, India Gate and several other parts witnessed a huge gathering of people against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra met the protesters at India Gate. Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Aazad also joined the protesters at Jama Masjid with a plan to march from the venue to Jantar Mantar defying a police ban. Protesters across the city gathered despite prohibitory orders in many areas. To stop the flow, entry-exit of as many as 17 Metro stations were closed besides traffic diversions at various places.

A car was set on fire in Daryaganj area and protesters hurled stones at security personnel near Delhi Gate, while police used water cannons and lathi-charged a large group of protesters to disperse the crowd.

Meanwhile, in a late-night development, several people gathered outside the Delhi Police Headquarters demanding the release of around 40 persons detained during the protest in Daryaganj.

Congress leader and former President Pranab Mukherjee's daughter Sharmistha Mukherjee was among the detainees near Home Minister Amit Shah's residence. Jamia students too peacefully protested outside the University with day-long demonstrations and cultural activities. Roads connecting Delhi to major NCR cities witnessed barricading with heavy deployment of police force resulting in traffic congestion. Despite the 24-hour Internet shutdown by the Ghaziabad District Administration, people opposed the Act unitedly.

Central Delhi's Jama Masjid area became the epicentre of the protest. After offering the Friday prayers, a huge number of people assembled at the designated place. Police, to stop their participation, barricaded the routes leading to the protest site. Though there was a huge police deployment, the influx of people was uninterrupted for a couple of hours. Amid unprecedented footfall, the area was cordoned off and participants were escorted from all sides. The personnel were armed with water cannons, tear guns, riot-control vehicles and even drones. RAF was also deployed.

Other spots which were in limelight were Jantar Mantar, India Gate and Rajiv Chowk. The first two places were the spots of anti-CAA protesters while the third one was in support of the Act. Jantar Mantar, which drew attention on Thursday after the detention of Sitaram Yechury, Brinda Karat, D Raja and other Left leaders and students including DU, JNU, JMI was the centre of protest on Friday also as various factions comprising student wings and social organisations kept raising their voices against the Act. "We are in an all-out war against the Centre's move which will deprive a huge section of society. If demand is not met, we will not hesitate to intensify our ongoing agitation," said P Pukhram, a student from the North-East.

Hundreds participated in demonstrations throughout the day and even in the evening at India Gate.

Aazad, who surfaced at Jama Masjid was rumoured to be detained but he categorically denied it.

Mukherjee, who heads the Delhi Congress' women's unit, tweeted: "We've been detained & brought at Mandir Marg police station." Later she said every Congress worker was on the road to oppose the Act and would relent only when it is rolled back.

Anup Verma

Anup Verma

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