Anti-CAA protest in Nizamuddin, 200 agitators occupy footpath
Delhi witnessed another round-the-clock protest against the new citizenship law and the possibility of a pan-India National Register of Citizens (NRC) on Sunday, this time at Nizamuddin.
The protesters were mostly residents from the nearby Nizamuddin Basti. They occupied the footpath outside the Shiv temple close to the Lodhi Road flyover on Lala Lajpat Rai Road.
According to the police, 50 to 60 people gathered outside the temple from 5pm on Sunday to protest. By late night, the numbers increased to 300-400, and many of them came onto the main road, disrupting traffic.
Anticipating another Shaheen Bagh-like situation that could potentially choke a vital road, police were deployed to contain the protesters.
“Additional force was called in and the protesters were removed from the road and contained on the space outside the temple,” said DCP (southeast) Chinmoy Biswal.
Police, armed with lathis, some wearing protective gear like helmets and body armour, were at the site. Barricades were put up to prevent protesters from disrupting traffic. The deployment led to a flurry of chatter on social media. This attracted more people to the protest site, after which slogans were raised against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA, the NRC and the Delhi Police.
“Some of us had gone to the police to seek permission for the protest in the last few days, but were denied,” said a protester who was distributing tea for free. “But today some of us got on to the footpath and began the protest.”
When asked who was organising the protest, most said it was spontaneous and there was no one “in-charge” as such. One person who was managing the entrance to the site led HT to to a local resident who identified himself with his first name, Adil. “We have over 300 people protesting,” he said on Monday. “We had no issues with the police today.”
On Monday, DCP Biswal said they urged the people to call off their agitation. “There are still around 200 protesters. Around 70 police personnel are deployed. No permission has been given for the demonstration,” he said.