At least seven protesters were detained by the Delhi Police early on Thursday morning during the peaceful protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the subsequent excessive of National Register of Citizens (NRC) at North Delhi’s Turkman Gate. The detainees, some being students as well, were allegedly beaten up and have been taken to Rajinder Nagar Police Station.
The police razed the tents and evicted the residents, who were staging a sit-in in front of the Turkman Gate in a peaceful manner, NewsClick has learnt.
Old Delhi residents, including women in hundreds, took to the streets on Tuesday evening to register their protest against the controversial citizenship amendment. The residents said they were inspired by the protesting women of Shaheen Bagh.
“At 9.30 in the morning when the many of the protesters were still sleeping at the demonstration site, the police came and started evicting us,” Muhammad Yasir Khan, one of the protester who stays near the protest venue told NewsClick. The police personnel didn’t have their name badges on their uniform, Khan alleged.
“When the residents protested against the forced eviction, the police started detaining,” he said.
Sara Javed Chawla, a woman protester who was present at the Turkman Gate when police arrived, while speaking to NewsClick alleged that a male police officer snatched her dupatta during the eviction. “I was beaten with a baton by the police. My dupatta was snatched by a male officer and they [the police] were not allowing me to make any video,” she said.
Soon after the detainees were held, a team of lawyers reached the Rajinder Nagar police station. The detainees were taken to the LNJP hospital in order to prepare their medico legal certificates (MLCs). The detainees were not released until the time this report was filed.
Photo of Tuesday night protests at Turkman Gate by the residents.
The attempt by the police to disperse the protest at the Turkman Gate, however, failed. The protest continued even on Thursday afternoon, with over 200 to 300 residents, including women and students, gathering at the same protest venue and forming a human chain.
“We are determined to protest in a peaceful and organised manner. It is the police that is trying to provoke the protesters and attempting to disturb the peacefulness in the Old Delhi area,” Khan told NewsClick.
“We are going to every home in the locality and asking people to come out in protest of the police action,” Chawla said.
The detention happened at the Turkman gate only a day after police allegedly “switched off” the lights and vandalised another protest venue in East Delhi’s Khureji. The protesters at Khureji had gathered for an indefinite sit-in against CAA, NRC and NPR.
In the past few days, many Shaheen Bagh-inspired protests erupted in different localities of the national capital. While women carried flash candle marches in Jafrabad, residents in Shastri Park staged a peaceful dharna which was also met with police action on Wednesday morning.
*This is a developing story.
Update: The detainees were released by the police on Thursday evening.
Also read: Gandhian Wave of Protests Against CAA-NRC Spreads Across Bihar