NEW DELHI: Braving the freezing cold, hundreds of students, professionals and civil society activists thronged the India Gate on Saturday evening to protest against the amended Citizenship Act.
Amid heavy police deployment, the protesters raised slogans against the BJP government and sought revocation of the new legislation as it tears into the secular fabric of the country.
"A lot of educated people are not aware of what is happening in the country. This law will tear into the secular fabric of the country."
"NRC (National Register of Citizens) and CAA together are a huge problem," said a former Delhi University (DU) student who did not wish to be named.
Another professional, working in Noida, who joined the protest with his wife, said the new law was "discriminatory" and "unconstitutional".
"It is drawing a line between religions. It is unconstitutional and discriminatory. By doing so, the government is trying to divert from the real issues like unemployment and economy," said an IT professional who did not wish to be named.
Students from various universities in and around Delhi flocked to join the protest while professionals joined the agitation after taking leaves from their places of work.
To ensure law and order, the Delhi Police was deployed in large numbers along with two companies of the CRPF -- one led by a female official and the other by a male.
The protests happened near the Amar Jawan Jyoti memorial at the India Gate, while the police guarded the entry and exit points of the venue.
At one point, the police barricaded the entry at 8 pm refusing to allow over a 100 people waiting to join the fellow protestors inside which led to an argument between them.
However, when the protestors began shouting slogans on the road, police removed the barricade and allowed them to enter.
"Let them protest. We will see till when they will do it. It is so cold, they won't be able to stay for long," said a police official.
Speaking about the violent clashes between the police and protestors across the country, Abdul Gafur, a student from Jamia Milia Islamia, said violence is happening only in the BJP ruled states.
"I condemn the violence happening in the country. But why is it happening in the BJP ruled states only?" said Gafur, who is from Kerala.
Another protestor said this law is a huge financial loss to the country.
"It (the new law) is the weakest in financial terms. If detention centres will be made, whose money will they use? Ours, the taxpayers," said Amit Gupta, a businessman based in Delhi.
The anti-CAA protests had begun after the contentious law was passed by the Lok Sabha on December 11.
Some people also gathered outside the Delhi Police headquarters here on Saturday evening demanding the release of detained persons during protests against the contentious act.
They were also demanding that the government should take back the amended Citizenship Act.