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Protests in Delhi Hit a New High in 2019, Reveals Police Data

People from all walks of life took to Delhi’s streets in 2019 to voice their grievances, police data revealed.

Updated
India
4 min read
Protests against the CAA continue to rage across India.
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The national capital witnessed the highest number of agitations in at least eight years in 2019, government data reveals. According to the data, people from all walks of life – students, airline professionals, lawyers and even police personnel – took to the streets in Delhi to voice their grievances.

Figures from the Delhi Police show that approximately 12,652 demonstrations, dharnas and protest meetings were organised in 2019, a jump of 46% from the 2018 numbers, Hindustan Times reported.

This has been the highest since 2011, the earliest year for which data was made available. The previous highest number of protests (11,158) was witnessed in 2015, the report said.

The data from the year 2019 only takes into account protests till 15 December and hence, does not include the ongoing demonstrations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, which gained steam in the last two weeks of December.

‘The Number Will Rise By At Least 500’

The protests from the last two weeks of December – which saw demonstrations in universities against the CAA and a month-long protest by women residents of Shaheen Bagh –will be included when the figures are updated in early 2020, the report said.

When the data from the anti-CAA protests is included, the number will rise by at least another 500, a senior Delhi Police official was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.

The year 2020 began on a raging note, with a number of protests and rallies against the CAA-NRC and the proposed fee hike at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). If the trend continues, this year too, Delhi will witness a significant number of protests.
Media outlets scanned through a sea of viral images to identify the culprits behind the JNU violence that broke out  on Sunday, 5 January.
Media outlets scanned through a sea of viral images to identify the culprits behind the JNU violence that broke out on Sunday, 5 January.
(Photo: Altered by The Quint)

The data presented, has been compiled by the Delhi Police’s special branch, the intelligence wing of the city police, which shared the report with the local police.

Experts say the data indicates a growing sense of disappointment across various sections of the society, but it could also be read as a sign of a healthy democracy.

Anti-CAA protesters at Delhi’s  Shaeen Bagh.
Anti-CAA protesters at Delhi’s Shaeen Bagh.
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)
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A former senior police officer, who led the state police of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab told Hindustan Times, said the rise in protests indicates growing dissent against the government. The former police officer stated that it wouldn’t be surprising if the spike was seen after the CAA protests, but added that the increase was recorded before the CAA demonstrations began. Prakash Singh, a proponent of police reforms, added that the spike in demonstrations is a sign of a healthy democracy.

“The protests have been related to economic, social and political issues,”
Professor at the Centre for Political Studies in JNU

Other experts have linked the demonstrations to dissatisfaction with government policies.

Some of the prominent demonstrations that took place in Delhi, 2019, includes those by employees of the now-grounded Jet Airways, who had marched in their uniforms in April, 2019, after the airline suspended operations. Another major protest was that of the constables of Delhi Police, who had staged a demonstration against their seniors after they had clashed with lawyers outside the Tis Hazari court in November 2019.
Jet Airways employees protest wearing uniforms  in 2019.
Jet Airways employees protest wearing uniforms in 2019.
(Photo: The Quint)
Police personnel displayed placards during a protest against the repeated incidents of alleged violence against them by lawyers including the Tis Hazari Court clashes, on Tuesday, 5 November.
Police personnel displayed placards during a protest against the repeated incidents of alleged violence against them by lawyers including the Tis Hazari Court clashes, on Tuesday, 5 November.
(Photo: PTI)
Advocates staged a protest outside Rohini Court over clashes between lawyers and police at Tis Hazari Court complex, in New Delhi, on Wednesday, 6 November.
Advocates staged a protest outside Rohini Court over clashes between lawyers and police at Tis Hazari Court complex, in New Delhi, on Wednesday, 6 November.
(Photo: PTI)

In the last week of November, 2019, at least 200 disabled protesters held a sit-in protest at central Delhi’s Mandi House over not being given an opportunity to apply for government jobs, the Hindustan Times report said.

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The data from 2011 revealed the scale of the anti-corruption protests which saw tens of thousands of students, young people and professionals join a campaign that was led by activist Anna Hazare.

Police Recorded 8,405 Protests in 2012

In 2012, Delhi’s streets were swamped by huge number of people protesting against the rape and murder of a 23-year-old medical student, ‘Nirbhaya’ on 16 December. Police records show that 8,405 protests took place that year.

The national capital has been on the boil since December 2019 when Parliament passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, which fast-tracks citizenship for non-Muslim refugees from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The mob attack inside JNU last Sunday, 5 January, that left 35 people injured sparked large demonstrations in campuses across the country and on the streets. Against this backdrop, 2020 may also prove to be another torrid year.

(This article has been republished by The Quint, with inputs from Hindustan Times)

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