As Protests Rage, BJP Takes Out Pro-Citizenship Act March In Kolkata
Saffron flags dotted the streets of Kolkata as BJP national working president JP Nadda kicked off a massive rally in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act today. The 4.5-kilometre march was undertaken to counter the ongoing agitation against the controversial law since its passage in parliament earlier this month.
The march, which also saw the participation of West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh, national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and party leader Locket Chatterjee, commenced from Hind Cinema in central Kolkata this afternoon and will culminate at Shyambazar later in the day.
Footage of the march showed JP Nadda and Kailash Vijayvargiya waving BJP flags from an open-air vehicle and shouting slogans as party activists walked alongside. "We are taking out this march in a peaceful manner. The people have been misled. In West Bengal, the Chief Minister herself is troubling the people. She is causing unease among the people by telling them lies," another party leader, Roopa Ganguly, told news agency ANI.
Once they reach Shyambazar, JP Nadda is expected to deliver a speech detailing the benefits of the Citizenship Amendment Act.
The amended law, which aims to expedite citizenship for non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, has been a major flashpoint between the Trinamool Congress government and the BJP-led centre. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who maintains that she will not allow its implementation in the state, personally led several rallies to condemn the law over the last few weeks.
Meanwhile, student groups and Trinamool Congress activists continued protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act in other parts of the city. Many students at Bengal's Jadavpur University showed black flags to West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar, who had come down for a convocation ceremony.
Over 20 people have been killed in clashes over the Citizenship Amendment Act so far.
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Earthquake felt in Delhi-NCR, strong tremors felt across North India
A strong earthquake was felt across North India, Pakistan and Afghanistan on Friday around 5.09 pm. The epicentre is said to be the Hindu-Kush region in Afghanistan. The magnitude of the earthquake is said to be 6.8 on the Richter scale.
The tremors were reported in Mathura, Lucknow, Prayagraj, Jammu and Kashmir and several other parts of North India. The reports of panic and evacuations are also pouring in from Lahore in Pakistan. The magnitude of the earthquake is said to be 6.8 on the Richter scale.
So far, there have been no reports of loss of property and life in the regions hit by the earthquake.
Reports of tremors being felt are coming from Chandigarh, Faridkot, Dalhousie, Chamba, Dehradun, Srinagar, Jammu, Delhi, Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, along with Pakistan's Islamabad and Lahore.
More details awaited.
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Kashmir-like stone pelting in UP streets; violence in Gorakhpur, Firozabad: CAA Protests
Citizenship act protest updates: Violent protests rocked several cities in Uttar Pradesh after as protestors and police clashed in Gorakhpur, Firozabad and Bahraich. Police and protestors pelted each other with stones, which resulted in injuries from both sides. Several vehicles were reported torched in Firozabad. Meanwhile, security has been tightened in sensitive areas across the state as prohibitory orders under Section 144 remain in place.
Security has been tighetened in the Northeast district of Delhi. Joint CP Alok Kumar said that anti-riot gear have been handed out and drones have been deployed for protests against Citizenship Amendment Act. Ten companies of CRPF and RAF have also been deployed.
Meanwhile, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) stated on Friday morning that all the stations have been reopened and that normalcy has been restored across the network. Additionally, mobile internet in Assam has also been restored.
On Thursday, anti-CAA protests across the nation escalated. In multiple parts of the country, including Mangaluru and Lucknow, protests turned violent. Two people were killed in police firing in Mangaluru and a person died in Lucknow.
Multiple prominent citizens of the country joined the protests against the Citizenship Act across the country. Ramchandra Guha, Yogendra Yadav, Sandeep Dikshit were some of these personalities who were detained. Mumbai saw the participation of multiple Bollywood personalities at the demonstration in August Kranti Maidan.
Speaking at an event in Kolkata, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asked PM Narendra Modi why he did not vote when Citizenship Amendment Bill was on the floor of the Parliament. 'Since you didn't vote for CAB, I believe you do not support it either. Please repeal it," Mamata said.
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Court Refuses To Protect Jamia Students From Arrest
Protesting students of Jamia Millia Islamia will not get any relief for now, the Delhi High Court said today in response to a clutch of petitions filed regarding Sunday's violence. Many of the students were allegedly injured during the police crackdown at the university late on Sunday evening. At least six petitions had sought medical treatment and compensation for them.
A bench of Justice DN Patel, however, refused to provide any interim relief to student protesters from any coercive action, including arrest. As the order was read out, lawyers present in the court chanted "shame, shame".
The court, which was hearing petitions requesting the formation of a judicial commission to investigate the violence at the Jamia Millia Islamia on Sunday, has issued notice to the Centre, the Delhi government and the police.
The order came amid a nationwide protest against the Centre's new citizenship law, which is meant to expedite citizenship for non-Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who settled in India before 2014.
A protest on the same on Sunday - organised by the Jamia students -- had ended in a pitched battle with the police. Later, the police had barged into the university without permission and detained around 100 students. There were allegations that they had targeted the university's staff and students, setting off a string of protests in the campuses across the country, some of which went on overnight.
One of the petitions, filed on behalf of the Imam of Jama Masjid, said the students and teachers were holding a peaceful protest against the amended Citizenship Act, but the police disrupted it and used "unjustified, excessive, arbitrary and brute force" against them, reported news agency Press Trust of India.
Immediate action was required against the erring police officers so they "do not get any time to fabricate and manufacture facts and evidence against the protestors", the petition read.
It also said that every citizen has the right to peacefully hold protests and police assault on such protesters was a violation of their fundamental right.
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Buses Set On Fire With People Still Inside
Petrol was taken out of two wheelers parked on the roadside and used to set fire to buses filled with passengers, an eyewitness of Sunday evening's violence in Delhi has told NDTV. The hour-long pitched battle outside a posh colony between the police and a mob was the culmination of a protest march against the new citizenship law.
By the end of it, three buses were set ablaze, a fire tender was damaged and two firemen were injured and the police had used batons and tear gas on the mob.
Video footage from the area showed the mob being chased by the police through the streets.
The Jamia students have distanced themselves from the violence and senior officers of the Delhi police admitted that local thugs had hijacked the march, setting vehicles ablaze and throwing stones at policemen when they tried to stop them from marching to Jantar Mantar.
"The men took out petrol from two-wheelers and set fire to a bus, which still had passengers inside," Ravi, a man who works as a domestic help in the area told NDTV. "There was much panic. A young woman was sobbing loudly," he said.
The Jamia students have distanced themselves from the violence.
Asked how many men were involved, he said 15 to 20. When the police arrived, they scattered. "One of them threw a stone at a policeman. I saw him bleeding from the head," he added.
Protests escalated at Jamia when a march led to clashes between protesters and the police. The police later entered the Jamia Millia Islamia campus without permission and detained around 100 students, who were released around 3:30 am.
In addition to students, several policemen including senior officers were injured. One of them is in the Intensive Care Unit with severe head injuries.