Screenshot of a video showing Delhi police vandalising the Khureji protest site.
After the police took down a structure housing the protest site in Khureji on Wednesday amid the violence encompassing Northeast Delhi, lawyers—including women—were purportedly beaten up by the police, as a video surfaced on social media has shown.
According to the eyewitnesses, when at least two individuals, identified by the protesters as Ishrat Jahan and Khalid Saifi, were detained, the lawyers who reached Jagatpuri police station for the release of the two, were “slapped”, “lathi charged” and “their phones were snatched”.
Meanwhile, as terror was unleashed in parts of Delhi since Sunday, a number of anti-CAA protest sites in violence-hit parts were either attacked by mobs or forcibly cleared. In Jaffrabad, the women protesters vacated the spot as situation in the area escalated since Sunday. Among other protest sites, Chandbagh and Mustafabad were attacked reportedly by Hindutva mobs, who rampaged the area, pelted stones and torched nearby houses and shops.
On Wednesday, the protest site at Khureji became the latest one to be cleared off, this time not by a mob, but by Delhi police itself. Around 50 people were present at the protest site, when police personnels arrived at noon to clear the area.
One of the eyewitnesses confirmed to NewsClick that tear gas was used to disperse the protesters and “vandalised” the site—as the police uprooted the pegs of the shed and tore apart the tent.
No casualties have been reported yet.
“Not any mob, but the police have removed the protest. Everything at the site has been destroyed,” one of the protesters told NewsClick over phone, adding that, “they [police] were supposed to protect us.”
The eyewitness added that police told the protesters that the protest may incite “violence in the area”.
In another video posted on Twitter, male officers can be seen as manhandling one of the women protester, who, as per the audio that can be heard, is identified as Ishrat Jahan.
One of the protesters, who claims to be part of the protest since the beginning, told NewsClick that rumours about a possible attack at the protest site and the nearby areas were being spread from Sunday.
“In the nearby Laxmi Nagar area and Geeta Colony, rallies were organised yesterday which were led by a BJP MLA himself, in which provocative slogans were raised,” the protester said.
This has also been verified by Hindustan Times after videos surfaced on Tuesday evening of a recently elected Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Abhay Varma rallying in Laxmi Nagar market of his constituency with at least 150 supporters.
Local shopkeepers in Laxmi Nagar confirmed to Hindustan Times that Verma visited the area. In the video Verma, who reportedly also happens to be Delhi BJP vice-president, can be heard shouting ‘goli maaro’ slogans.
In a Delhi Court hearing on Delhi violence today, Justice Muralidhar even showed the video of Abhay Verma’s speech to the police officer present in the court.
Despite panic spread in the area, protesters NewsClick spoke to said that the peaceful protest against the CAA-NRC-NPR continued even on Tuesday night, with participation of as many as thousand local residents.
The police conducted flag march in Northeast Delhi’s Bhajanpura and Khureji Khas on Tuesday, reported India Today.
On Sunday, residents in Khureji took to the streets and blocked the road, in a bid to escalate their agitation against the controversial amendment to citizenship act, proposed exercise of preparing National Register of Citizens (NRC) and imminent National Population Register (NPR).
“We have been protesting since 45 days in a peaceful manner and no one has come to take to us to address the issues. Our voices are not heard. We demand Modi-Shah to at least talk to those protesting,” one of the women protester had told NewsClick then.
Earlier, only a day after the protest was staged in the area, an attempt by the Delhi Police was made in which the police allegedly “switched off” the lights and “vandalised” the protest site.
Violence had erupted on Sunday, February 23, after a small mob of people led by a BJP leader, started and provoked a clash with anti-CAA protesters. The violence that has now spread to other parts including Chandbagh, Mustafabad, Maujpur, has left as many as 21 dead, according to recent estimates.
Also read: Journalist Bodies Express Concern over Safety of Reporters Covering Delhi Violence