A 20-year-old protestor who shouted slogans against the Citizenship Amendment Act at Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s rally in Delhi has alleged that he was pushed to the ground and hit with chairs by the people in the audience, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday. The incident took place in the Babarpur Assembly constituency in Delhi on Sunday evening. Harjit Singh shouted “take back Citizenship Act” during Shah’s speech.
“I was immediately pulled from the back and pushed to the ground by people in the audience,” Singh said. “Some of them also grabbed chairs to hit me”.
The protestor alleged that the Delhi Police coerced him to write a letter saying he was mentally unstable, adding that he was locked up in the police station despite not having committed any crime. “I wasn’t even informed on what charges I was locked up,” Singh added. “The police officers directed me to write a letter in which I was made to say I am not mentally stable and wasn’t aware of what I was doing. If I hadn’t written the letter, they would have not released me.”
Singh, a second-year political science student of Delhi University’s School of Open Learning, said he did not anticipate such an aggressive response from the crowd.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (North East) Ved Prakash Surya dismissed Singh’s allegations and claimed they did not take anything in writing from him. “We rescued him and first took him to the hospital,” he said. “After his MLC report, we verified his details and handed over his custody to his parents after calling them.”
However, Singh said he was taken to police station first despite the injuries.
He added that he wanted to register his protest against the amended law. “We are not scared, we have a right to put forward our views,” he said. “While bringing in Citizenship Amendment Act, the government should not mention specific religions but should rather say minorities.”
Amit Shah reportedly told the security officials to take the protestor away safely. “Let him go,” he said, according to PTI. “Security rush there and take him away safely.”
The Citizenship Amendment Act provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims. Twenty-six people died in last month’s protests against the law – all in the BJP-ruled states of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Assam.