A group of women protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens in Mumbai on Friday alleged that they were manhandled by the police earlier in the day. At least 36 women were injured and seven had to be taken to Nair Hospital for X-rays and other treatment.
The women have been protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Mumbai’s Nagpada, in Mumbai Central. The place has come to be known as “Mumbai Bagh”– a version of the protest being led by women at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh.
The protestors alleged that violence began at around 5.15 am on Friday after the police made repeated attempts to tear down a tent that they had erected for shade at the protest site.
“First, at around 1.30 am, two police constables cut the ropes of our tent,” Jamila [name changed], who was at the protest site through Thursday night, said. She added that the police brought down their tent again after some women went to get water from nearby restaurants at dawn. “We ran back and tried to protect our cloth tent, and in the commotion, some women fell down,” Jamila added.
Jamila said the police began to push and beat everyone, after some men tried to help the women. She alleged that Nagpada Police Station Senior Inspector Shalini Sharma kicked a woman in the stomach. “Another woman injured her spine after she was pushed,” she said.
A protestor, Mateen Khan, was briefly detained when he tried to speak to police officials. “They served him a notice for trying to prevent police officials from doing their duty,” said Soheb Gopalani, another protestor who witnessed Friday morning’s events.
Jamila and Gopalani claimed that in the past two weeks, the police had repeatedly objected to the protestors’ use of umbrellas or makeshift tents to protect themselves from the sun and heat. “An elderly woman had fainted a few days ago, and the police actually took away the umbrella we gave her,” said Jamila.
Staff at Nagpada police station told Scroll.in that none of the officers on night duty at Mumbai Bagh were available for comment, and that “nothing much” had happened at the protest site early in the morning.