The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register for Citizens of India (NRC) are facing protests across the country -- in capital cities, small towns and districts.
However, the protests have taken a violent run in some places in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat and Mangalore in Karnataka – all BJP-ruled states, (except Delhi, where the police is directly under the Centre’s control).
In Karnataka, it has been reported that two of the protesters succumbed to bullet injuries in the coastal city of Mangalore.
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However, instead of quelling the rising tide of anger against CAA/NRC in Karnataka, the ruling BJP’s minister C T Ravi today made an inflammatory statement, regarding the protests in Mangalore.
In the above video, Ravi is heard warning U T Khader, the Congress MLA from Mangalore, saying: “It is this mentality of these people (read Muslims) that resulted in the train being set ablaze in Godhra. I know that it is the same mentality that burnt the Karsevaks alive; But I believe they also know and remember the reaction that these acts of theirs got. I hope UT Khader remembers what happened and how the people (Hindu community) were enraged just after the train in Godhra was set ablaze. You are taking the patience of the majority for granted and testing it. Can you imagine what would happen if they lose their patience? Before getting on the streets and burning the whole city by protesting, it is better they go back in the lanes of memory and check what happened in Godhra.” Here the minister is indicating a repetition of Gujarat 2002 violence that left thousands of Muslims dead and displaced.
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The state Bharatiya Janata Party government, led by B S Yediyuraappa, had imposed Section 144 across the state but protesters across the state defied this imposition and exercised their right to protest on December 19. Mangalore, it may be recalled, has been a hotbed of Hindutva politics in the state.
Following the two deaths, at 10 p.m the previous night, internet services were suspended in the coastal city for 48 hours. A curfew was also declared for 48 hours. These developments in the city drew media attention across the state, and on Friday morning, 15 journalists, including some from Kerala, were detained by the Mangalore police.
The detained journalists were reportedly covering the post-mortem of two people who died at the Wenlock hospital and according to the Mangalore police, they were detained because none of them were carrying any accreditation cards with them. Most of the journalists detained are from Malayalam channels, according to the report in The News Minute.
According to news agency PTI, the arrests of journalists, mainly from Kerala, became a major issue with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan taking up the matter with his Karnataka counterpart B S Yediyurappa.
The Kerala CM condemned the police action and said the onslaught on media freedom was a "fascist mindset."
Eight journalists and camera crew of Kerala-based TV channels, who had interviewed relatives of those killed in the December 19 police firing during protests against CAA were released seven hours after being detained by police in front of the Government Wenlock hospital in Mangaluru on Friday, sources said.
Journalists in Delhi and Kerala staged protest rallies in various places under the banner of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists, district press clubs and the Delhi Union of Journalists.
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The DUJ in a statement said, “the police confiscated cameras, tripods and mobile phones of the journalists and took them to an unidentified location. The journalists were reporting from the Mangalore hospital where an autopsy was being conducted on a protester who died of a bullet wound. This is a blatant attack on the freedom of the press.”
Meanwhile, PTI reported that entry for those from Kerala to Mangalore was restricted at Thalappady border as police checked identity cards before allowing them in emergency cases.
At least 50 men and women who arrived from Kerala to Mangalore by train were taken into custody for trying to enter the city without identity cards.