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Business News/ News / India/  Clashes in Delhi, six dead in UP as citizenship stir takes violent turn
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Clashes in Delhi, six dead in UP as citizenship stir takes violent turn

Delhi Police resorted to lathicharge and used water cannon to disperse protesters as violence marked a march against the CAA on Friday with stones being hurled on security personnel
  • The violence in UP comes amid internet curbs in many districts to curb rumour-mongering
  • Protests began peacefully at Delhi’s Jama Masjid but violence broke out at nearby Daryaganj later in the day (Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint)Premium
    Protests began peacefully at Delhi’s Jama Masjid but violence broke out at nearby Daryaganj later in the day (Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint)

    New Delhi: Six people were killed in protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) on Thursday, while the Janata Dal (United), or JD(U), became the latest government ally to declare itself against the related National Register of Citizens (NRC).

    Protests against the CAA, which began peacefully at Jama Masjid area in Delhi after Friday prayers, ended with arson 2km away near the Daryaganj police station late on Friday evening. Police used water cannons and baton-charged protesters as they hurled stones at security personnel, torched a car and damaged several vehicles. Around 40 people were detained by the police. The Rapid Action Force conducted a flag march in the area.

    In neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, six people were killed as the protests turned violent, according to Press Trust of India news agency. Two people were killed in Bijnor, and one each in Meerut, Sambhal, Firozabad and Kanpur, taking the nationwide toll to at least nine in two days. Over 50 policemen were also injured in the state.

    Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad at the protest in Jama Masjid. The police tried to detain Azad twice, but he managed to give them the slip both times (Photo: PTI)
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    Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad at the protest in Jama Masjid. The police tried to detain Azad twice, but he managed to give them the slip both times (Photo: PTI)

    In Delhi, thousands of Bhim Army supporters, led by Chandrashekhar Azad, joined Muslims in Delhi’s Jama Masjid area. Ringed by his supporters, the Bhim Army leader held up a copy of the Indian Constitution with a portrait of its architect B.R. Ambedkar and urged protesters to join him at the venue. According to Bhim Army, police first tried to detain Azad at Jama Masjid and later near Daryaganj, but he managed to get away on both occasions.

    Several other parts of Delhi, including Seelampur and the area outside Jamia Milia Islamia University, besides parts of central Delhi also witnessed protests.

    Away from the capital, Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, the stronghold of chief minister Yogi Adiyanath, witnessed the day’s worst incidents of violence.

    Massive protests erupted in the town after Friday prayers and Press Trust of India reported stone-pelting on police personnel in at least one area in the city, which remained tense for most of the day. Police fired tear gas shells to disrupt protests.

    In the backdrop of two people dying in Mangaluru in police firing and one in Lucknow on Thursday, security agencies were on high alert.

    Internet services were taken down in several districts of Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, while services were also impacted in parts of West Bengal. In Delhi, 10 metro stations were shut during the day.

    Men try to extinguish a burning car after demonstrators set it on fire during a protest against a new citizenship law, in New Delhi (Photo: Reuters)
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    Men try to extinguish a burning car after demonstrators set it on fire during a protest against a new citizenship law, in New Delhi (Photo: Reuters)

    The government also came under pressure from its allies. Bihar chief minister and JDU chief Nitish Kumar distanced himself from the roll out of the NRC, saying there was no need for NRC in the state. A section of JDU leaders was also critical of the party’s decision to support the government on CAA.

    Key NDA partner Shiromani Akali Dal has also opposed the countrywide implementation of NRC, while the Asom Gana Parishad has reversed its position over CAA after supporting the Centre in both Houses.

    To make matters worse for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, like-minded parties like Biju Janata Dal (BJD), YSRCP and Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) have all come out against pan-India roll out of the NRC. All the three regional parties had supported BJP in the passage of CAA.

    Protests against the CAA are also growing in West Bengal, where chief minister Mamata Banerjee has emerged as the chief opponent of the legislation. She said that the Trinamool Congress will hold ‘No NRC and No CAB’ protest meetings across West Bengal on 23 December.

    Police personnel and protestors throw stones at each other during a demonstration against the Citizenship Amendment Act, in Gorakhpur (Photo: PTI)
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    Police personnel and protestors throw stones at each other during a demonstration against the Citizenship Amendment Act, in Gorakhpur (Photo: PTI)

    “If CAA is such a good Act, why did Prime Minister Narendra Modi not vote in favour of it in Parliament?...I think even PM does not support it so he should reject it," Banerjee said on Friday.

    However, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman defended the government on CAA. “(It) is an Act through which citizenship is given to people who fled persecution. For 70 years they have been waiting...so they can live a life of dignity. It has nothing to do with existing citizens of this country," she told ANI.

    The Centre also released explainers in a bid to clarify its position. “Citizenship of India may be proved by giving any document relating to date of birth or place of birth or both. Such a list is likely to include a lot of common documents to ensure that no Indian citizen is unduly harassed or put to inconvenience," the official Twitter handle of the spokesperson of home ministry said on Friday. “Illiterate citizens, who may not have any documents, authorities may allow them to produce witnesses or local proofs supported by members of community. A well laid out procedure will be followed," it added.

    PTI contributed to this story

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    Published: 21 Dec 2019, 12:01 AM IST
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