Violence erupts in Aligarh as cops crack down on CAA stir
The authorities were on Sunday forced to suspend Internet services in Aligarh after four people, including two police personnel, were injured in clashes between anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protesters and police amid incidents of arson and stone-throwing.
District magistrate Chandra Bhushan Singh said police fired teargas shells to disperse a mob for indulging in vandalisation of property and throwing stones at security personnel. He added the internet services were suspended as a precautionary measure.
Singh said the violence broke out when police were trying to evict some women protestors holding a sit-in. “We told them that women protestors were already holding a protest at Eidgah and they would not be permitted to hold another such protest near Kotwali,” said Singh. He added even as efforts were underway to convince the women to leave the area, the stone-throwing started.
Singh said an electricity department transformer was set afire but police managed to douse the flames before they could spread. He described the situation as “tense but under control”. “An intense patrolling of the affected areas is underway and the police are trying to trace out those who were instigating the women protestors...”
News agency Press Trust of India said a 22-year-old man’s father and brother told police that he suffered bullet injury when a “miscreant” fired amid the clashes between police and protesters.
Tariq, the 22-year-old, was admitted to a hospital, where doctors described his condition as “serious”.
The clashes broke out shortly after a Bhim Army-led march by hundreds of anti-CAA protesters heading to the district collectorate earlier were stopped midway by police and Rapid Action Force.
Stopped by police, the protesters headed towards the Eidgah area in the city, where another group of anti-CAA women protestors had been holding an indefinite sit-in. As the Bhim Army-led protestors, including women, were stopped by police from moving ahead after they crossed over the Katpula Bridge from the old city, they joined women protesters in the Eidgah area.
The protesters had taken out the march on a call by Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar.
Aligarh’s senior police superintendent, Rajmuni, earlier told journalists that following the abortive march, a First Information Report has been lodged against three people for trying to violate prohibitory orders and breach of peace. He added he was monitoring the situation arising out of the anti-CAA protests.
The CAA was passed in December to fast-track the citizenship process for non-Muslims, who have entered India from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh before 2015. It has triggered protests across the country. Opponents of the law insist it is discriminatory and unconstitutional as it leaves out the Muslims and links faith to citizenship in a secular country. They say it could result in the expulsion or detentions of the Muslims unable to provide the documentation if the law is seen in the context of a proposed pan-India National Register of Citizens.
(With Agency Inputs)