Around 200 individuals gathered at the Sir Puttanna Chetty Town Hall at 4 PM in Bengaluru on 16th December to peacefully protest against the recent violence by police departments against the students of the Jamia Millia Islamia University and the Aligarh Muslim University.
Even before the protest began, an individual was detained by the police in a nearby area. Tanveer Ahmed, Police Inspector with the Karnataka State Police stated to a group of journalists that the individual was held for refusing to identify themselves and ‘speaking arrogantly’ with policemen who questioned the individual. The police ensured the group that the person would be released from their custody in ten minutes or sooner if the protesters dispersed.
While protests are usually held at the steps of the Town Hall, the protesters were surprised to find that the area was cordoned off with barricades by the Bengaluru city police before individuals started to assemble in the area. There was a heavy police presence in the area, with armoured vehicles and a water jet truck parked in front of the building. The police refused to give individuals access to the main area of the Town Hall stating that protesters lacked permission from the Deputy Commissioner of Police to organise the protest at the building.
After a reading of the Preamble of the Constitution of India, protesters sat in front of the barricades demanding the end of the police brutality inflicted on the student protesters at the Jamia Millia Islamia University and the Aligarh Muslim University. The protesters also shouted slogans against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that was passed by Parliament earlier this month, and the National Registry of Citizens (NRC) that is being supervised by the Supreme Court of India.
Soumya Reddy, Indian National Congress politician and MLA representing Jayanagar, addressed the protesters urging them to voice their opinions against the policies of the Government. Tanveer Ahmed, National spokesperson of the Janata Dal (Secular), thanked the police for standing peacefully behind the barricades. Ahmed stated that the CAA runs contrary to the Constitution of India, and that “brutality against students [protesting against it] is not acceptable.”
Several members of the All India Democratic Students Organisation (AIDSO), one of the organisers of the protest, were present with posters condemning the police action against student protesters. AIDSO All India President V.N Rajashekar also addressed the gathering and expressed his grievance with the use of tear gas by the police at the Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi yesterday.
At 5 PM, the protesters sang the National Anthem and ‘Hum Honge Kaamyab’, soon after which police forced the crowd to disperse from the area. Some protesters stayed in the area and silently held posters up until 7 PM, after which they were chased by policemen and forced to leave.
Salman Ahmed, General Secretary of the Bangalore Youth Congress, was also present at the protest and said “Hindustan ek tha, ek hai, aur Hindustan hamesha ek rahega. Kisi ko baantne nahi denge hum, chaahe woh CAA ho ya NRC. (India was united, and will remain so. We will not let anyone divide the nation, whether it be through the Citizenship Amendment Act or the National Registry of Citizens).”
Gurshabad Grover tweets at @GurshabadGrover.
Images courtesy: Gurshabad Grover