CHENNAI: The protests against both, the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and police brutality against college students across India, continued for the fifth consecutive day here in the city on Friday. About 500 people including students, NGOs, activists, researchers, and intellectuals among other public gathered near the Chepauk stadium to show solidarity against the CAA, police shooting, and arrest of intellectuals like Ramachandra Guha.
In what began as a small crowd of 150 odd people at 4 pm, it spiraled into 500 by 6 pm as more passers-by kept joining. To condemn the CAA, the protestors carried different types of placards in English, Tamil and Hindi too. Some of the slogans written in the placards were #HellWithFascism, #LetsKeepAmbedkarAlive, ‘Destroy Hindutva’, ‘Smash Fascism’.
‘’From Kashmir to NEET, and new education policy to CAA, every decision by the Central government has been implemented in a fascist manner. When people come road to protest against fascism, going beyond religion and caste, in return, they only get gunshots as gift,’’ said Valarmathi, a University of Madras student, who was at the protest.
She added that it is utter disrespect of human rights when colleges are closed and phone connections disconnected. The protestors condemned the brutal killings happened in Mangalore and Uttar Pradesh and also the violence across the country. They also jointly chanted why violence happened only in the BJP ruled states.
“Arrests and shootings are response of a government which is scared. It wants to suppress us at any cost,’’ said D Pavan, a PhD scholar who came to the protest. Raising placards which said ‘Thoothukudi, Jamia, Mangaluru’, he pointed out that there has been no justice for the people who died in the Thoothukudi firings despite video evidence.
Instances of police excess were also noted in the protests at Chepauk when a man, in mufti claiming to be police, clicked mug-shots of the protesting people, especially Kashmiri Muslims. When few protesters held him and tried to snatch his phone, he fisted them back, leading to a mob. In no time, uniformed police personnel came to the spot and dragged the man wearing mufti away. A senior police official at the spot said that the man who clicked mugshots did not belong to the police department and he was affiliated to some political groups.
Meanwhile, protestors also expressed sorrow for the state of affairs in Kashmir and North East. “The lockdown in Kashmir is the longest ever in democracy,’’ said Roohiya, a college student in the city, who came to the protest. Expressing concern for Sri Lankan Tamils, who are excluded from the CAA, Hari, an engineering student at the spot, said that they have lived here for thirty years as brothers and sisters of this land.
“The land is not anyone’s property to expel anyone from here,’’ he said. The protest concluded at about 7 pm after the speakers concluded speaking on various values such as secularism, democracy, human rights and freedom of expression. About 500 police personnel were deployed at the spot and the event was mostly calm without much tensions.
Protests across city
Chennai: Anti CAA and NRC protests were staged by different groups across the city on Friday. City police deployed around 3000 personnel to monitor and control the protesters. According to police, the protests were at Chepauk, Pudupet, Triplicane, Thirumangalam and Tondiarpet. Senior police officers said they did not grant any permission, but had given protection for the protesters and asked them to leave after 6 pm since the demonstration was disrupting traffic. Till Friday evening, no case had been registered against the protesters, the officers said