Days after a brutal crackdown by Azamgarh district administration on anti-CAA-NRC protesters, fresh tension prevailed in Kanpur in the wee hours on Monday (February 10), as Uttar Pradesh Police forcibly evicted women protesters from Mohammed Ali Park in Chananganj area.
According to eyewitnesses, police resorted to lathi-charge on the protesters to disperse the crowd, most of whom were women.
"The police here in Kanpur barged into the tent just before the break of dawn (around 3.30 AM) and forcibly removed the protesters from the park along with all those who had gathered in the last few days. But the women were not ready to vacate the site and sat on dharna at the road outside the park. As the news of police crackdown spread, large numbers of women protesters assembled at the road, following which the police went on to launch lathi-charge against women," Wasif Haider, an eyewitness told NewsClick.
The women-led protest has been ongoing at Mohammad Ali Park for the last 35 days. Thousands of people, mainly women, from all communities have been participating in a sit-in protest from dusk to dawn in the freezing cold.
Meanwhile, Deputy Inspector General of Police Kanpur (Range) Anant Dev had also warned protesters to call off the protest on Saturday, February 8, or be ready to face the consequences. He had said that if, despite serving notices to 80 people and banning 200 people, the protest did not end, the troublemakers would be arrested and they will be slapped with the draconian National Security Act (NSA).
Also read: CAA-NRC-NPR: Women Lead Sit-in Protest in Kanpur’s Mohammad Ali Park
Commenting over the police crackdown, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader and former MP from Kanpur, Subhashini Ali told NewsClick, "This is happening because the Chief Minister had said that he doesn't want any protest against CAA and NRC in the state. Despite the crackdown, thousands of women have gathered at the protest site now."
However, Kanpur DM Brahma Deo Ram Tiwari denied reports of any lathicharge on the protesters. He said police had asked the protesters to vacate the park by Sunday night.
Earlier on February 5, UP police arrested 19 people from Jauhar Park in the Bilariaganj area of Azamgarh for protesting against CAA and the proposed NRC. The police also lathi-charged and fired tear gas shells to disperse the demonstrators. The violence left close to dozen people injured with broken bones and wounds. A large number of people, mostly women and children, were severely injured, including a 50-year-old woman who is critical and is admitted in the ICU of the district hospital.
Not only that, incidents of police brutality against anti-CAA-NRC protesters continue to be reported from Uttar Pradesh. The state police have used tear gas, batons and bullets on the streets in as many as 15 districts, resulting in the deaths of 23 Muslim men, 3 from Kanpur. More than 1,200 people, mostly Muslims, have been arrested. Many were detained illegally. Several, including minors, have also reported custodial torture.
Also read: Who Were 23 People Killed in UP During Anti-CAA-NRC Protests?