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Violence during protest against amended citizenship law in Delhi’s Seelampur area

Violence during protest against amended citizenship law in Delhi’s Seelampur area
December 18
11:01 2019

NEW DELHI: Angry protesters demanding scrapping of the amended citizenship law torched several motor bikes, pelted stones at police personnel and damaged buses and a police booth in Northeast Delhi’s Seelampur area on Tuesday afternoon, in fresh violence in the national capital.

Police resorted to baton charge and fired tear gas shells to disperse the protesters. Plumes of smoke billowed from at least two localities as the standoff continued for around one-and-a-half hours. Police said the situation has been brought under control. They said two bikes of traffic cops were burnt by the demonstrators, adding a police booth in the area was vandalised and CCTV cameras installed there were taken away by the mob.

Some security personnel were also injured in the incident, police said. The clashes erupted two days after violence broke out during a protest in the New Friends area in South Delhi near Jamia Millia Islamia. Protests were also reported from Brijpuri in northeast Delhi around 8:30 pm, but were brought under control.

A large number of policemen were deployed as tension prevailed in Seelampur and adjoining areas following the violence. Police said the protesters were marching from Seelampur towards Jafrabad. Clashes erupted at Seelampur Chowk when the security personnel tried to stop the protesters from moving ahead.

According to a senior police officer, the protest began at around 12 noon. The protesters raised slogans against the new law as well as the National Register of Citizens (NRC). Another senior police officer said the the situation is now under control.

Faisal Ahmed, a protestor, said, “We have come here to raise our voice against CAA and NRC. I got injuries on my right leg during police attack.” Police said there were initially small groups of people who started the protest against the CAA and they went in lanes and bylanes of Seelampur. By the time they came on the Jafrabad main road, there were almost 3,000 people and the police were escorting them.

They were moving towards Seelampur T-point where barricades were placed, an officer said, adding that several announcements were made requesting them to disperse. “When they started dispersing, suddenly stones were hurled. We made several requests to them not to pelt stones, but they did not relent, forcing us to use tear gas to disperse them,” he said.

The protesters indulged in vandalism. He said they also damaged a police booth and torched a motorcycle parked near it. An officer said some police personnel were injured and the windshields of two buses were damaged by the mob. A Rapid Action Force bus was pelted with stones. “We have taken the locals into confidence through respectable people in the area and also through mosques and madrassas there. Police have been deployed in the area,” the officer said.

When asked about the damage to property due to the violence, he said they are in the process of taking stock of destruction caused by protestors. On the Brijpuri protests, an official said people had pelted stones on police personnel. The situation is under control, he said. Gates of seven metro stations were closed in the wake of the protest, and five of them were reopened after some time. Traffic was also diverted from the area.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed to Delhiites to maintain peace, saying violence cannot be tolerated in a civilised society. The Aam Aadmi Party and its Seelampur MLA Haji Ishraq urged the people to register their protest peacefully after the area witnessed violence. “I am appealing all the people to register protest and convey their message peacefully,” Ishraq said in a video message.

He urged locals and youngsters not to venture out on the main roads of the area to protest. Senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh said people should maintain peace and protest peacefully. On Sunday, scores of people, including Jamia students and policemen, were injured, four DTC buses were set afire and over 100 private vehicles were damaged when protesters opposing the amended Citizenship Act clashed with police near New Friends Colony.

Police used batons and tear gas shells to disperse the protesters and entered the Jamia campus where several people were detained.

Protests were held on Monday in the national capital and campuses across the country over the alleged police excesses during the incident. PTI



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