New Delhi: The protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) turned violent Friday evening after a few “outsiders” from the crowd of hundreds of people marching from Jama Masjid to Delhi Gate started pelting the police with stones and even set a car afire.
According to a police source, four persons marching with a candle first broke open the petrol tank of a car parked outside Daryaganj police station and put a lit candle inside, leading to an explosion.
The police said the miscreants who started the violence were “not locals” but “outsiders”.
To dispel the protesters, the police opened water cannons and lathi-charged them. No tear gas shells were, however, lobbed.
According to another police source, over 40 people were rounded up after the violence and raids are on to detain more people, who ran inside the narrow lanes of Daryaganj to evade arrest.
Among the ones detained, are residents from north-east Delhi’s Seelampur, Loni and Khajuri Khas. At least, 30 protesters and five policemen were injured in the clash.
No FIR has been registered in the matter at the time of publishing this report.
Outsiders created trouble, say police
After the Friday namaaz, at around 5.15 pm people congregated outside Jama Masjid to take part in a protest called by Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad.
As the police advised the people to disperse, announcements were made from inside the masjid too. “There were announcements made from inside the masjid asking people to return home. Most people in the crowd started dispersing. However, some of them in between started chanting provocative slogans,” a senior police officer said.
“A few of them then started pelting stones at the police, which were as big as boulders. A senior police officer was also hurt in the process,” he added.
It was then that the police opened the water cannons to disperse the crowd. Over 12 police companies, including the Rapid Action Force, were deployed in the area to control the situation.
“They scattered on the Delhi Gate stretch and wanted to march towards India Gate. Some even said that they planned to block the ITO intersection. We were, however, prepared and had already barricaded the said intersection,” the police officer said.
“A few of them started vandalising parked vehicles and even set a car afire,” he added.
According to the officer, water cannons were used to push the protesters back.
“We have also detained a few of those who were pelting stones and damaging vehicles. Some of them tried to evade detention and ran inside Daryaganj. Teams are on to nab them,” the officer said.
Earlier in the day, Azad was detained from Jama Masjid but he escaped police custody. Police chased him, but in vain.
The police have imposed Section 144 in New Delhi and parts of north-east Delhi, and have also cancelled all permissions for any sort of protest in the capital.
Five dead in UP
Meanwhile, five persons were killed in a clash with the police in Uttar Pradesh as protests erupted in several cities, including Gorakhpur, Meerut, Deoband, Shamli, Kanpur and Lucknow.
While four people succumbed to their injuries in Meerut and Firozabad, 12 people were injured in Kanpur, nine of whom were admitted to a hospital with alleged bullet injuries.
Section 144 has been imposed across UP along with an internet ban.
Hundreds of people were detained, said UP police, but the situation still remains tense.