Mangaluru: Protests in Karnataka against the Citizenship Amendment Act claimed its first casualties on Thursday when two men were killed in police firing when a protest march in the heart of the coastal town of Mangaluru turned violent, while the capital Bengaluru saw police clamp down on protesters led by historian and author Ramachandra Guha, who was detained and later released along with several hundred activists and students.
The two dead include Jaleel (49) of Kudroli and Nausheen of Bengre (23) who sustained serious injuries in the police firing, and were rushed to hospital. Both were declared dead an hour later.
Curfew has been clamped across the city, while internet connections will be shut down for 48 hours in Mangaluru city and Dakshin Kannada district, as per orders issued by Dr. Rajnish Goel. Additional Secretary, Home, at the recommendation of Neelamani Raju, DG&IGP who held an emergency meeting with state Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa late on Thursday. The CM appealed for calm and requested police not to resort to firing live bullets against protesters.
Protests turned violent in the port city as the bustling private bus stand at Bunder in Mangaluru saw pitched battles between police and the protesters on Thursday. Curfew was clamped across the jurisdiction of five police stations of Mangaluru Central Sub Division in the aftermath of a mob attack on police.
The number of protesters had steadily swelled through the day, despite the District Administration clamping prohibitory orders under CrPC 144 on Wednesday night, with participants in the rally, refusing to heed the police call to disperse, shouting slogans and staging a sit-in, blocking access to the bus stand. Police resorted to a lathi-charge and fired tear-gas as they chased the protesters to nearby Nellikai road.
“We had made public announcement about prohibitory orders and asked for co operation from the leaders of all communities. But all of a sudden today afternoon around 2 pm, miscreants gathered near Nellikai road and despite our request they pelted stones and bottles which they had brought with them at the police and started a street fight,” City Police Commissioner Dr Harsha told reporters.
The mob which had re-assembled at RR Circle, about 200 meteres from the city bus stand, launched another attack on the police but was dispersed again with the help of additional forces. They retreated and gathered again at Kudroli, about 2 km away from DC's office, police said, pelting the police with bottles and stones.
“They tried to block the roads and were preparing to attack the police station to set it ablaze and attack the police with lethal weapons. As a last resort police had to fire two rounds in the air. Despite this, the protesters continued to advance and the police had no other go but to use firepower,” the Commissioner said on the police resorting to firing on the protesters.
“We will strictly impose Prohibitory orders under Section 144. You can call it curfew. I ask people to be at home in the five police station limits in the central sub division,” the Commissioner said.
Some 15 policemen sustained injuries of whom eight were seriously injured including DCP (Law and order) and DCP (Crime).
Meanwhile, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai claimed on Thursday that people from neighbouring Kerala indulged in violence in Mangaluru during protests against the CAA. Addressing the media, he said that strict action would be taken against those involved in violence and spreading rumours. "People who had come from Kerala to participate in the protest also tried to set fire to a police station in Mangaluru and damaged public property. To control the mob, police had to use force,” Mr Bommai said....