Anti-CAA protests continue as death toll rises to 24

NEW DELHI/LUCKNOW/KOLKATA, DEC 22 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 12/22/2019 12:23:40 PM IST

Demonstrations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act continued on Sunday in various parts of the country though no major incident of violence was reported. The death toll in CAA-related protests has now reached 24.

According to reports, with nine people dying during clashes in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday in Uttar Pradesh, the casualties of these protests has risen to 24, The Deccan Herald report quoting AFP stated.

A total of 5,400 people have been taken under custody till now and around 705 have been sent to jail. The government is also expected to invoke the National Security Act (NSA) against 250 agitators.

Around 269 policemen were reportedly injured in Uttar Pradesh and 57 received bullet injuries. The Uttar Pradesh Police also seized 405 country-made revolvers and pistols.

Blaming “outsiders” for the violence during anti-CAA protests which has claimed 17 lives over the last few days in the state, UP deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma said authorities suspect that the culprits are linked to Islamic outfits PFI and SIMI. “There is involvement of Popular Front of India (PFI). They have connection with SIMI. Six people from Malda (in West Bengal) have been arrested,” he said. 

“About 500 empty cartridges of prohibited bore have been found. This indicates that the protestors were using illegal weapons,” he said.

Authorities “detained” a four-member Trinamool Congress delegation from West Bengal led by former MP Dinesh Trivedi at Lucknow airport when it was heading to meet the families of those killed in the clashes, drawing sharp response from Mamata Banerjee’s party.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra visited Bijnor district where she met families of two persons killed in the violence and demanded a judicial inquiry.

“It is a clear case of murder. The bullets were fired first and then the stones were pelted. The Congress will fight for the families and ensure that justice is delivered to them. 

The party will raise this issue in Lok Sabha as well,” she said.

Internet services have been suspended in several parts of Uttar Pradesh till Monday, while prohibitory orders remained in force across the state.

Although the Delhi Police made elaborate arrangements to ensure that there was no protest around the rally venue, Ramila Ground, areas like Jantar Mantar, Jamia Millia, Nizammudin, and Connaught Place witnessed multiple peaceful demonstrations.

Protests against the amended citizenship law by Congress, Left and other parties and outfits, and counter-protests by BJP and Hindu organisations were held in many states.

Many top BJP leaders, including Union Ministers, defended the CAA at events organised by the party in several the states. Union Minister Nitin Gandkari addressed an event backed by the RSS in Nagpur, while BJP working president J P Nadda was in Indore.

In Bengaluru, a 31-year-old man was allegedly attacked with sharp weapons by a group of people while he was returning from a demonstration in support of the CAA, police said, adding his condition was stable they were examining CCTV footage to track the assailants.

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot led a peace march in Jaipur on Sunday and said his government will neither implement the amendment act nor national register of citizens (NRC) in the state.

He said eight-nine states, including Bihar and Odisha, have said that they will not implement NRC.

Curfew was lifted in Shillong as no report of violence or arson over the amended citizenship Act was reported from any part of the city. People were seen flocking to local shops to buy essential items and prepare for Christmas in Christian-majority Meghalaya.

However, in Manipur, the state government has imposed prohibitory orders in Imphal West district for two months in view of the continued protests against the new citizenship law

Janata Dal-S leader and former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy on Sunday visited the families of the two men at Kudroli and handed over a cheque of Rs five lakh each to them on behalf of his party.

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