Citizenship Act Protests Today: India Takes To The Streets, Defying Clampdowns
Protesters arrive to participate in a rally against the amended Citizenship Act and NRC, at August Kranti Maidan in Mumbai on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019. (Photo: PTI)

Citizenship Act Protests Today: India Takes To The Streets, Defying Clampdowns

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Two Killed In Karnataka, Hundreds Detained In Pan-India Protests

Two people were killed in police firing in Mangaluru today in clashes that took place during protests against the new citizenship law.

Simultaneous protests took place in multiple cities on Thursday with thousands-strong crowds of students, activists and others defying prohibitory orders to voice their dissent against the newly amended citizenship law.

Violence too was reported in some parts, notably in Lucknow and Patna, and hundreds were detained across the country—including in Delhi and Bengaluru.

Authorities resorted to barricading and clampdown on mobile services, including an unprecedented one in Delhi. Protesters faced tear-gas shelling and police batons in Uttar Pradesh after incidents of arson and stone-pelting. In Bengaluru, historian Ramachandra Guha was among those detained.

Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which prevents assembly of more than four persons at a location, remained in effect in several states.

Opposition parties also joined forces to attack the Modi government on the new law which they said goes against the "idea of India", even as the ruling BJP asserted there would be no rethink on implentation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, and that the National Register of Citizens, or NRC, would also be brought in.

Read on to find out how India reacted to the contentious policies on Thursday.

BJP To Protest Rajasthan's Decision To Not Implement CAA

The Bharatiya Janata Party will take out a rally on Friday against the Congress government in Rajasthan for opposing the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, in the state.

BJP state secretary Mukesh Dadhich said there will be a rally and demonstration from Shaheed Smarak to Civil Lines to protest against the Rajasthan government's decision. Later, a delegation of BJP leaders, including BJP state president Satish Poonia, will submit a memorandum to the governor.

Refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, BJP National Vice-President Avinash Rai Khanna and Leader of Opposition in Rajasthan Assembly, Gulabchand Kataria, will be present during the protest, Dadhich said.

Government Insulting Soul Of India: Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said the government has insulted the soul of India by suppressing its voice and preventing peaceful protests by shutting down mobile services and metro stations.

"This government has no right to shut down colleges, telephones and the internet, to halt metro trains and to impose Section144 to suppress India's voice and prevent peaceful protests. To do so is an insult to India's soul," he said on Twitter.

His message came on a day when the government shut down internet services and closed as many as 16 metro stations in Delhi amid protests by some groups and Left parties in the national capital.

Gandhi is currently on an official tour of South Korea.

Karnataka: Police Fire In Air At Mangaluru, Scores Detained

Police lobbed tear gas shells, resorted to baton charge and fired in the air to disperse anti-Citizenship Act protesters in Mangaluru, as thousands of demonstrators hit the streets in many cities and towns across Karnataka on Thursday defying prohibitory orders.

Scores of people including historian Ramachandra Guha were among demonstators who were detained and later released. Vehicles were set on fire and stones hurled at police personnel as protesters allegedly went on the rampage in Mangaluru.

Police retaliated by firing in the air to warn them after tear gas shells and baton-charge proved futile. Religious preachers too made a fervent appeal to people through loudspeakers of a place of worship not to resort to violence.

The Mangaluru Police Commissioner has imposed curfew with immediate effect till the midnight of Friday in central sub-division of the city covering five police stations, a top district official told PTI.

Prohibitory orders clamped in Bengaluru under section 144 of the CrPC had no effect as people in large numbers came out onto the streets opposing the CAA and the NRC.

Sensing deterioration of the law and order situation, district authorities in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Kalaburagi, Mangaluru, Belagavi, Hubballi, Shivamogga, Hassan, Chikkamagaluru and Chikkaballapura imposed section 144 for the next three days.

Uttar Pradesh: Yogi Adityanath Warns Of Strong Action Against Vandals, Says Will Auction Their Property

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday said his government will take "revenge" on those involved in the violence over the amended Citizenship Act by auctioning their property to compensate for the losses.

"There is no place for violence in a democracy. In the name of opposing the CAA, the Congress, Samajwadi Party and Left parties have pushed the entire country to fire,” Adityanath said.

"There was violence in Lucknow and Sambhal and we will deal with it strictly. Properties of those involved in damaging public assets will be seized and auctioned to compensate for the losses. They have been captured in video and CCTV footage. We will take 'badla' (revenge) on them," he said.

Uttar Pradesh: Violence in Lucknow, Other Areas; Yogi Talks Tough

Protesters pelted stones, torched vehicles and faced tear-gas shells in Lucknow and some other parts of Uttar Pradesh as police struggled to contain the fallout of the amended citizenship law.

The scattered incidents of violence were reported from Lucknow's old city and parts of Sambhal and Mau districts.

Internet services remained suspended for at least part of the day at various places, including Aligarh, Sambhal, Mau and Azamgarh districts.

Section 144 of the CrPc, which bans the assembly of people, had already been in force in the entire state for several days now.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath that said the state government will make those who damaged property pay for it. He said a dozen vehicles, mostly two wheelers, were set afire.

Samajwadi Party and Congress MLAs held protests in the state assembly complex against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. The party’s workers also defied the ban on protests in several districts. Their protests largely remained peaceful.

Teachers from the Aligarh Muslim University, the scene of violence on Sunday, also took out a protest march. Shopkeepers in some areas of the city briefly downed shutters in support. Traders in many markets shut shop early as reports of violence in the old city came in.

Police fired tear-gas shells in old Lucknow's Madeyganj area as protesters smashed vehicles parked outside a police post. About 20 people were taken into custody.

In Hasanganj area, policemen dodged stones hurled by protesters. They had a tough time tackling protesters in some other parts of the old city as well. At Lucknow's Parivartan Chowk, close to the district magistrate's office, police faced brickbats and the van of a television crew was reportedly damaged.

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