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February 24, 2020

Stones pelted over anti-citizenship law rally in New Delhi

Top Story

February 24, 2020

NEW DELHI: Stone pelting was reported between pro and anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protesters in New Delhi's Jafrabad on Sunday.

Earlier on Sunday, hundreds of women blocked a road in Jafrabad and vowed not to end the protest till the Centre revokes the CAA and the National Register of Citizens.

The sit-in forced Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to block the entry and exit gates of Jafrabad Metro station on Sunday morning after more than 500 protesters blocked the road below the Metro line and vowed not to end the agitation till the BJP-led government at the Centre revokes the CAA and the National Register of Citizens, international media reported.

The stone pelting started after a group of CAA supporters reached near the protest site and started raising slogans in favour of the CAA. It is still unclear that which side started pelting stones first but the situation turned ugly within no time as both sides started pelting at each other. The entry and exit gates of Maujpur and Babarpur metro stations were closed due to the violence.

Some people were reportedly injured in the stone-pelting and police and paramilitary forces were deployed in the area to monitor the situation. Alok Kumar, Joint Commissioner of Police (Eastern Range), said the situation is under control now but people from both sides were on the streets. He added that police officials are in touch with local leaders in order to restore normalcy in the area.

Meanwhile, India suspended mobile Internet in Aligarh, a city in the Uttar Pradesh state, for at least six hours, after violent clashes broke out between authorities and activists protesting a controversial citizenship law.

Violence erupted when police clashed with people protesting against the CAA, in Aligarh's Uparkot Kotwali neighbourhood, leading to stone-pelting, a shop being set ablaze, and a police officer's bike burnt to the ground. Authorities, however, responded with baton-charging and relentlessly firing tear gas at the demonstrators.

Police claimed that it was the protesters who had initiated the aggressive behaviour, the publication reported. It added that the city's district magistrate, Chandra Bhushan Singh, said violence was brought under control and the mob dispersed.

"We have held peace meetings and asked Muslim community leaders, including the Imam of the Jama Masjid, to act as interlocutors," Singh was quoted as saying.

Uttar Pradesh Police consequently deployed its Rapid Action Force (RAF), while Aligarh Police said they were registering a case over the incident and identifying suspects “with the help of CCTV footage”.

People slammed the authorities’ move to ban internet, terming the country as “fascist India” and saying communication blackouts were the “favourite weapon of authoritarian regimes (in Indian states) in 21st century India to effect mass repression in the name of maintenance of law and order”.

A young activist, Anish Gawande, said on Twitter: “Digital India is a joke.”

“We account for the highest number of internet shutdowns in the world. In these blackouts, the state uses its power to inflict the worst abuses on our own people,” Gawande added.