Violence mars anti-CAA protests
Several people, including two policemen, were injured when rival groups clashed in Kolkata over a discussion on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, while a bus driver was injured in Mumbai and stray incidents of stone pelting were reported from parts of Maharashtra during a statewide bandh called by Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi as well as a curfew was imposed in Jharkhand’s Lohardaga district.
The clash in the southern part of Kolkata’s Jodhpur Park area broke out on Thursday night when a group of men allegedly owing allegiance to the BJP, attacked a group of Trinamool Congress activists with knives and sticks when they were denied to participate in a discussion on the CAA, a police officer said. When the police tried to pacify the two warring groups they were attacked.
“Two policemen including one officer have been injured. The officer received injuries in his hands and is currently undergoing treatment,” said the police officer quoted above. Two motorbikes were also burnt during the clash. People injured in the clash were discharged after preliminary medical assistance at a nearby medical establishment, the officer said. The police have arrested three persons for their involvement in the clash.
In Maharashtra, the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) had called for the statewide shutdown to protest against the CAA and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC).
A bus driver was injured during stone pelting, but normal life remained largely unaffected.
Speaking to reporters at around 4 pm after calling off the shutdown, VBA leader Ambedkar said the bandh received “good response” from traders and office-goers in Mumbai and that it was “peaceful”.
People who engaged in stone pelting or vandalism during the bandh were not attached to the VBA and they were members of other organisations, he added.
“The protest was held peacefully in the rest of the Maharashtra. We were able to convey the message against the CAA, the NRC and the NPR. It is affecting Muslims as well as Hindus...,” Ambedkar said.
Earlier in the day, the driver of a BEST (civic undertaking) bus suffered injuries after stones were pelted on the vehicle in Mumbai’s eastern suburb of Chembur, an official said. The incident took place at around 9.15 am when some unidentified persons pelted stones at the bus heading towards Kurla station on route number 362, said a spokesperson of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST). Stray incidents of stone pelting on city buses were also reported from Solapur and Aurangabad districts, police said.
Curfew was imposed in Jharkhand’s Lohardaga district following violence at a pro-CAA rally, an official statement said. Stones were hurled at a rally taken out in support of the CAA in Amlatoli Chowk area, sparking tensions, police said. Some two-wheelers were set on fire following the attack. Security has been beefed up across the district following the incident, police said.