Fury Against CAA Spreads Across India, 3 Dead

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Protest against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)

NEW DELHI – Three people were killed in police firing in Mangaluru and Lucknow on Thursday, as thousands of people, including Bollywood celebrities, eminent writers, human rights activists and students protested across major towns and Indian cities against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

According to media reports, police opened fire on protestors near Bunder area of Mangaluru this evening critically injuring two people. Both of the injured were rushed to a private hospital in the city but were declared brought dead. One of the victims is a resident of Bunder while another victim is a resident of Kandak in the city.

Media reported that the authorities imposed curfew in parts of the city, ruled by the BJP, fearing escalation in protests over the killings. Some videos surfaced on the social media showing police personnel firing in the air to disperse protesters.

Another person died in Lucknow due to bullet injury.

Earlier in the day, police fired teargas shells and carried out a baton charge to disperse 100 anti-CAA protesters who allegedly turning violent, setting a few motor bikes on fire and pelting stones on the security forces in Mangaluru, a police official said on Thursday.

Hundreds of college students and cadres of the Left organisations and minority institutions staged protests and staged sit-in demonstrations in the Karnataka port city against the CAA and sought its repeal at the earliest. Prominent among those detained by the police in Bengaluru include eminent historian RamachandraGuha.

Elsewhere, people from a wide social and political spectrum joined forces as protest marches and meets were organised at many places across the country today.

Almost all the major cities – Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, Lucknow, Patna, Thiruvananthapuram, and Hyderabad saw protesters on the streets despite substantial police presence and imposition of prohibitory orders at several places.

In Delhi, protesters gathered in large numbers at various places like the Red Fort, Mandi House and JantarMantar. Police forces deployed in large numbers kept the protests under control. A number of metro rail stations were shut as a precautionary measure.

In Uttar Pradesh, angry protesters attacked media persons and razed OB vans in Lucknow. Similar incidents of violence were reported from places such as Sambhal in the state, which has a BJP government at the helm.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath blamed the opposition for the protests.

Maharshtra also witnessed protests in Mumbai and several other places in the state.

In Mumbai, the biggest procession was held at the historic August KrantiMaidan which saw a large number of celebs and political leaders like Raj Babbar, Naseem Khan, MilindDeora, EknathGaikwad, film personalities – Saeed Mirza, SuhasiniMulay, Farhan Akhtar, and Sushant Singh, academicians, social workers, representatives of NGOs, students, and many more sitting in protest against the CAA-NRC.

Nagpur, which is the headquarters of the RSS, also witnessed a big protest march by citizens” groups.

In West Bengal, where Mamta Banerjee heads the Trinamool government, the protests were a big show of strength for the ruling party which has been fiercely opposing the CAA. Mamata fuelled the controversy by demanding a UN-monitored referendum on the law. The statements have come for sharp criticism from the BJP.

Other places that saw anti-CAA protests include Rajasthan, Chennai and Thiruvanantapuram.

In Rajasthan, protests were held in several districts including the capital city Jaipur where thousands belonging to the Left parties, lawyers fraternity, CIPU, People”s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), civil society, teachers, professors and many other organisations came together to take out a massive protest march against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

However, the protests drew a mixed response in Bihar and were largely absent from Madhya Pradesh.

Violence in Lucknow leaves one dead

A Lucknow man was killed as violence erupted in the state capital and some other parts of Uttar Pradesh with protesters, angry over the new citizenship law, pelting stones at police and torching vehicles.

Mohammad Wakeel (25) suffered a firearm injury when he was passing through an old city area where the clashes took place, his family said. But police denied that this had anything to do with the protests or the police action.

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

Two buses were torched, one in Lucknow and the other in Sambhal. Mobs also targeted two police posts in the state capital, setting one of them ablaze. Police resorted to lathi-charge and used tear-gas shells at several places.

Eighteen police personnel 16 in Lucknow and two in Sambhal — were injured, they said.

Altogether, 112 protesters were detained in connection with the violence in the state. Police also held over 3,000 people under preventive detention.

Internet services remained suspended for at least part of the day at various places, including Lucknow, Aligarh, Sambhal, Mau and Azamgarh districts. Section 144 of the CrPc, which bans assembly of people, was already in force in the entire state for several days.

Talking tough on TV, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath 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. SP workers also defied the ban on protests in several districts, the party said. 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 Lucknow 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 targeted a police post and smashed vehicles parked outside. About 20 people were taken into custody there. In Hasanganj too, policemen dodged stones hurled by protesters.

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.

King George’s Medical University (KGMU) Trauma Centre in-charge Sandeep Tiwari told PTI that Mohammad Wakeel died of firearm injuries. “Two other patients are undergoing treatment at the trauma centre and one of them has firearm injury,” he added.

Police said Wakeel’s injury could not be linked to protests. But the victim’s brother, Taufiq, claimed that he was told by a friend that Wakeel was shot at by a police officer.

In Sambhal district’s Chaudhary Rai area, a public bus was set ablaze and another damaged as a protest turned violent, District Magistrate Avinash K Singh said.

Some protesters also pelted stones at a police station there, he said.

“Internet services have been suspended as a precautionary measure to prevent rumour-mongering,” he said.

In Mau, protesters hurled stones, triggering a large deployment of UP’s Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC).

Several Aligarh Muslim University teachers held a silent march, days after the institute witnessed violence when students protested against the new legislation that they say discriminates against Muslim.

The protesters, including several women teachers, marched from the AMU Teachers’ Club to the Purani Chungi Crossing.

“We want to convey to the people of India that our struggle against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act will continue peacefully within the democratic framework of the system,” AMU Teachers Association secretary Najmul Islam told PTI.

“We feel that we are fighting for the idea of India as envisaged by the founding fathers of the nation. This is not a struggle for the rights of any particular community,” he said.

Earlier, MLAs from the opposition Samajwadi Party and Congress held separate protests at the legislative assembly complex.

The MLAs gathered at the Assembly building in the morning ahead of the sitting of the state legislature, raising slogans against the legislation.

An SP MLA climbed the main gate of the Vidhan Bhawan. Some Congress legislators came outside the complex, but headed back when stopped by the police enforcing the prohibitory orders.

The SP also held protests in Gorakhpur, Maharajganj, Basti, Siddharth Nagar and Kushinagar districts, where police detained several party workers.

Congress sources said Ajay Kumar Lallu, the state unit president, was also detained while leading a protest at Lucknow Parivartan Chowk.

The gates of the nearby KD Singh metro station were shut to prevent more protesters from gathering at the busy spot.

The amended Act allows citizenship to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis who entered India before 2015 after facing religious persecution in three neighbouring countries. The list excludes Muslims.

Mamata calls for UN held referendum on CAA

West Bengal: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday demanded a referendum by an “impartial organisation” like United Nation to see how many people were in the favour of Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

“Let there be an impartial organisation like United Nations or National  Human Rights Commission hold a referendum to see how many people are in favour or against Citizenship (Amendment) Act”, she said while addressing a gathering.

She also accused the BJP of “dividing” the country and said that the protests against the amended Citizenship Act will not stop unless the government withdraws the legislation, which aims to grant citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from three countries in India’s neighbourhood.

“Suddenly after 73 years of independence, we have to prove that we are Indian citizens. Where was BJP’s at that time, BJP is dividing the country. Don’t stop your protest because we have to get CAA revoked… Protests will get stronger as the day passes,” Banerjee said while speaking at a protest here.

She also termed it ‘dirty politics’ and said, “You have won 38 per cent vote after doing so much and many of them are against you. It’s bad luck for us that we have to give our fathers and mothers identity. All are citizens and suddenly who gave this idea that we have to give proof of it… They are doing dirty politics”.

Banerjee has been vehemently opposing the amended Citizenship Act and has even said that she will not allow the legislation to be implemented in West Bengal. Several other non-BJP chief ministers have also echoed similar sentiments.

Protests erupted across the country over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, which seeks to grant citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Buddhists and Christians fleeing religious persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh and came to India on or before December 31, 2014.

CAA Protests Delay Flights At IGI Airport

New Delhi: Massive protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act in the capital on Thursday not only disrupted road traffic but also led flights from the IGI Airport here getting delayed.

According to airport sources, not just passengers but also flight and cabin crew were stuck in massive traffic snarls.

The alarming situation led various airlines to announce waiver of cancellation charges.

“Due to heavy traffic congestion on Delhi-Gurugram Highway, customers who miss their flight due to this will be accommodated on next Vistara flight for no extra fee or fare on the basis of seat availability from Delhi,” the airline tweeted.

“We are also offering free changes and cancellations for those who are booked to travel from Delhi today. Fare difference if any, will be applicable.”

A GoAir spokesperson said the airline is offering “rescheduling/cancellation fee waiver to passengers travelling to/from #Delhi for today 19th Dec”19 and tomorrow 20th Dec”19 (fare difference, if any, will be applicable)”.

IndiGo said that “due to the ongoing protests in certain areas of Delhi and NCR, and the restrictions on traffic into Delhi capital, especially from Gurgaon…” and “to accommodate passengers reaching late to the airport, we have rescheduled and curtailed our schedule in and out of Delhi by approx. 20 departures (approximately 10 per cent of our Delhi departures)”.

Airport sources said that over 15 flights have been delayed due to traffic jam at NH-8, while a source said that IndiGo has cancelled 19 flights due to crew getting stuck in traffic jam and other issues.

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