Jantar Mantar turns into ground zero of anti-CAA protests in Delhi
As the agitation against citizenship law peaked in national capital Delhi, the protesters defied prohibitory orders imposed under Section 144 to come out in large numbers on the street.
The day began with the protesters assembling near the Red Fort, the site chosen by a group of political parties and other outfits to show their discontent against the Citizenship Amendent Act. The police, which had not given permission for the protests, clamped Section 144 in the area that prohibits assembly of four or more people.
As the number of protesters grew, the police started detaining them. Among those detained was Swarajya Abhiyan chief Yogendra Yadav. “I have just been detained from Lal Qila. About a thousand protesters already detained. Thousands on the way. Am told we are being taken to Bawana,” Yadav tweeted on Thursday morning.
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As the day progressed, the protesters started converging at central Delhi, Jantar Mantar to be precise, by afternoon. Slogans of ‘CAA Se Azaadi and NRC Se Azaadi’ are being raised by the crowd at Jantar Mantar. Protesters are also carrying the national flag.
The police have imposed restrictions near Mandi House and Jamia Milia Islamia University, where a violent clampdown took place on Sunday.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) closed 20 metro stations as protests spread. Nearly all the central Delhi stations, including Rajiv Chowk, Barakhamba and ITO, were shut down. Sixteen flights were also delayed due to traffic congestion after the Delhi Police erected barricades at the border with Gurugram.
The capital also witnessed its first-ever mobile services shutdown. According to the order issued by the Delhi Police on Wednesday, the mobile companies in the national capital were told to pull the plug on services in the Walled City areas of north and central districts, Mandi House, Seelampur, Jaffarbad and Mustafabad, Jamia Nagar, Shaheen Bagh and Bawana.
The services were initially ordered to be suspended between 9 am and 1 pm, a total of four hours. But phone subscribers complained of disruption in services till much later.
This was the first time in recent years that police issued such an order.
Two protests are scheduled to be held in the national capital, one by students and activists and the other by Left parties. The two marches are to meet at Shaheen Park near ITO in central Delhi.