Protests against the amended Citizenship Act turned violent in Northeast Delhi’s Seelampur area on Tuesday as demonstrators pelted stones at police personnel, damaged public buses, and burnt vehicles, PTI reported. This came a day after thousands had assembled at a peaceful protest led by students at India Gate.
Police fired tear gas shells and baton-charged the mob, and officials claimed that two bikes of the traffic personnel were burnt. They alleged a police booth in the neighbourhood was also damaged. The crowd reportedly marched from Seelampur towards Jafrabad area, police said.
Clashes began between police and the protestors at Seelampur Chowk when forces tried to stop them from advancing. A senior police official said the protests began around noon, and slogans against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens were raised. Following the violence, a large group of police personnel was deployed in the area.
“No bullet has been fired,” Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police Alok Kumar tells ANI. “Only tear gas shells were used. Situation is under control now. Some police personnel are injured. Two public transport buses, one Rapid Action Force bus and some bikes damaged during the protest.”
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation announced the closure of entry and exit gates to the Seelampur metro station for about an hour. They were opened again at 4.30 pm. During the protests, the authorities had shut the entry and exit gates of Welcome, Jaffrabad, Maujpur-Babarpur, Seelampur, Johri Enclave, Shiv Vihar, and Gokulpuri metro stations.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed for calm after the violence. “I appeal to all the citizens of Delhi to maintain peace,” he tweeted. “Violence of any kind cannot be tolerated in a civilised society. Nothing will be gained by violence. Views should be put across peacefully.”
The police used drones to monitor the situation in the area. At least two policemen were injured in the incident, Reuters reported.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, which was passed in the Parliament last week, has triggered nationwide protests, including in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and West Bengal. The protests were initially seen only in the North East states with Assam as the epicentre, but have now sparked agitations in the rest of the country, especially among students. Protests in North East continued, including in Assam where internet services were resumed this morning.
Meanwhile, in an election rally in Jharkhand earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked students to debate and protest against government policies they disagree with, but asked them to be wary of “urban Naxals” who he claimed were using them for their politics.