Video Editor: Ashutosh Bharadwaj
Torn slippers, bloodstains and a burnt car greeted us at the same spot in Delhi where hundreds of Muslims offered namaaz a few hours before sunset on Friday, 20 December.
That spot is at Delhi Gate which was barricaded since afternoon to stop protesters, who gathered at Jama Masjid for Bhim Army Chief Chandrasekhar Azad’s rally against the Citizenship (Amendment Act), from going to Jantar Mantar.
The Protest That Began With the Constitution Ended with Stone Pelting, Lathi Charge
The protest which began with Azad holding high the Constitution amid a sea of people on the staircase of Jama Masjid ended in lathicharge, stone pelting and water cannons, just two kilometres away near the Daryaganj police station.
While the sequence of events remain unclear, police said, were "outsiders" set ablaze a car outside the police station near Delhi Gate which resulted in the protesters being lathicharged. However, the protesters claim that the situation got intense once the police used water cannons to disperse the crowd that had started gathering around 3 PM.
Minors Detained, Released After Magistrate Signed Called it “Illegal”
A band of lawyers and human rights activists waited outside the Daryaganj police station demanding the release of those detained. “It has been two hours since the people were picked up from the nearby areas of Jama Masjid. They have still not let any lawyer go in or even released the list of detainees,” said human rights activist Suroor Mander.
Shortly after, the SHO announced that one lawyer can go in and take down all the names of the detainees. The list was read out – 32 male adults and 8 minors were in custody.
The minors were released after the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (Central Delhi) noted that it was a “violation of law” and asked the SHO at the police station to allow advocates to meet detainees and to provide necessary medical succour to them.
“Three of my friends and I were walking down from the Jama Masjid lane. We had come to visit a friend who has had a daughter. The police randomly picked my friends up and took them to jail. I had somehow managed to escape. All three of them are above 18, so they are not releasing them right now.”Aslam* (Name Changed)
By morning, all the juveniles were released although 10 adults were arrested under various charges like arson, rioting, destruction of public property, etc.
Couple of people who spoke to The Quint after being released alleged they were beaten in police custody. Most of the detainees were picked up from the lane that leads to Jama Masjid Gate No 1.
Incidents of stone-pelting by a group of protesters were reported from Seemapuri area where an additional deputy commissioner of police sustained minor injuries. Similar scenes were witnessed at the Seemapuri police station where protesters were detained and not allowed to meet lawyers.
Head Injuries Hurt Many Who Were Lathicharged
Many of the protesters who were injured during the clashes were taken to the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital. There were policemen too who received brutal injuries and were being treated at the hospital.
Chandrasekhar Azad Surrenders Before Police
After a long stand-off with the police and much negotiations, Bhim Army chief Chandrasekhar Azad who was seated at Jama Masjid the entire evening surrendered before the police at around 3 AM on Saturday.
Songs in Solidarity at ITO
Protesters sang “Tu Zinda Hai” and “Inquilab Zindabad” in front of Delhi police Headquarters at ITO in solidarity with the detainees. “We protest the police brutality that different parts of Delhi are witnessing every day,” said a student of Jamia Millia Islamia who joined the gathering late into the night.
Protests against the recently passed Act has been swelling despite deaths, internet bans and violence across the country.