Modi meets ministers amid worsening protests, Sonia to hold protest at Rajghat
NEW DELHI :India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, has been worst affected so far. Nine people killed have been killed so far and several more are in a critical condition in hospital. The government insists the law will not be repealed.
Protesters clashed with the police again today in Uttar Pradesh, where 15 people have died during protests over the contentious citizenship law over the last two days. In Kanpur, protesters set fire to a police post. In Rampur, protesters broke barricades and threw stones at the police, who responded with batons and tear gas.
In Delhi, prohibitory orders were issued in areas around the Uttar Pradesh Bhavan. Protests are continuing at Jamia for the seventh straight day since Sunday’s violence. Fifteen people have been arrested in connection to yesterday’s clashes in Old Delhi, in which more than 35 people were injured.
Anti-citizenship law protesters set Yatimkhana police post in Kanpur on fire on Saturday and indulged in heavy brick batting, leading to injury to some people, a senior official said. Police had to lob tear gas shells and use canes to chase them away. Fire tenders were rushed to control the flame. ADG (Kanpur) Prem Prakash said RAF has been called out along with ‘Vajr’ vehicles to control the situation.
A person was killed in Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur as clashes broke out between anti-CAA protesters and police today, a source said. The clashes have left several injured, including policemen. Around 400 to 500 people gathered here to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act amid a bandh call, officials said.
Five protesters were hospitalised and the condition of one of them was stated to be critical, District Magistrate Aunjaneya Singh said. “Over a dozen policemen also suffered minor injuries during stone pelting by protesters that included children between the ages of 12 and 18 years,” Singh told PTI.
Another dozen protesters also suffered minor injuries in tear gas shelling by the police, he said. A call for a bandh was given in Rampur on Saturday by anti-CAA protesters even as CrPc Section 144, which bars assembly of people, was in force in the region.
Meanwhile, the death toll in Uttar Pradesh climbed to eleven, news agency PTI reported. At least 12 people, including an 8-year-old boy, have lost their lives in Uttar Pradesh as the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act turned violent in the state, officials said on Saturday. Violence during the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests has so far claimed lives in Bijnor,
Sambhal, Firozabad, Kanpur, Varanasi and Meerut in the state.
Schools and colleges have been closed across Uttar Pradesh a day after stone-pelting or more serious clashes with police were also reported from Bhadohi, Bahraich, Amroha, Farurukhabad, Ghaziabad, Varanasi, Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, Hapur, Hathras, Bulandshahr, Hamirpur and Mahoba districts. At many places police used lathis, lobbed tear-gas shells and, according to some officials, rubber bullets when they failed to contain angry mobs.
Meanwhile, The Congress, led by party chief Sonia Gandhi, has decided to stage a silent protest at Rajghat on Monday afternoon demanding protection for the Constitution and the rights of people as enshrined in it.
Top leaders of the party including its former president Rahul Gandhi and its General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra are likely to participate in the ‘satyagrah dharna’ till the evening, sources said. The decision to hold the silent protest was taken at a meeting of top party leaders at Sonia Gandhi’s residence here on Saturday evening.
The Congress will hold against the Centre’s new citizenship law, agitation against which is sweeping the country. The protest meet will be held at Rajghat, the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi. Senior party leader Rahul Gandhi, who had been abroad since the protests over the new law escalated last Sunday, is expected to attend the meet.
The protests had escalated last Sunday with a police crackdown on the students of Delhi’s prestigious Jamia Millia Islamia after their protest march ended in violence. On Thursday, 13 cities across 10 states held protest marches, in some cases, defying police clampdown.
UP Governor Anandiben Patel appealed to people to maintain peace in the state and said the government will protect every citizen. “Such protests yield no result but destroy the public property and harm people,” she said in a press communique. Earlier in the day, chief minister Yogi Adityanath met the governor and apprised her of the situation across the state.
Five people were killed in Meerut, two each in Kanpur, Bijnore and Firozabad and one each in Muzaffarnagar, Sambhal and Varanasi in Friday’s violence. An eight-year-old boy was killed in Varanasi after a lathi-charge by police led to a stampede. A 28-year-old man had died in Lucknow in Thursday’s violence taking the death toll in the protests over the newly enacted law to 16 so far.
(Bureau Reports With Agency Inputs ).