Protests surge, 120 held in Uttar Pradesh

Congress says activist Sadaf Jafar tortured by police.

New Delhi: Protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) continued across the country and abroad on Monday with huge turnouts in Delhi, Chennai and Bengaluru.

Even as allegations surfaced on Monday that actress and Congress acti-vist Sadaf Jafar, arrested on December 19 and since lodged in Lucknow jail, was brutally tortured by the UP police, in Delhi, 46 students were arrested and over 120 detained even before they could begin their protest against police brutality in Uttar Pradesh where crackdown on protesters continued.

Both the BJP and the Congress were out on the streets on Monday — one in favour of CAA, NRC and the another against it. Opposing the CAA and NRC, the Congress held a dharna at Raj Ghat where party president Sonia Gandhi read the Preamble to the Constitution. After her, Dr Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi also read out the Preamble at the party’s Satyagrah for Unity. In Kolkata, the BJP took out a rally in support of the CAA. It was led by the party’s acting president J.P. Nadda.

In Delhi, 46 students were arrested while in Uttar Pradesh, crackdown on protesters continued. Among those arrested is actress and Congress activist Sadaf Jafar, who, the party alleged, was brutally tortured by the police.

Both the BJP and the Congress were on the streets on Monday — one in favour of the CAA and the NRC and the other against the laws.

Opposing the two laws, the Congress held a dharna at Rajghat while in Kolkata, the BJP took out a rally in support of the CAA.

Indian students studying in foreign universities in London, New York, Paris, Washington DC, Berlin, Geneva, Hague, Barcelona, San Francisco, Tokyo, Amsterdam and Melbourne have organised protests.

However, in Uttar Pradesh, amid allegations of police excesses, the state government continued its crackdown on the protesters, and seized properties of the alleged rioters.

The arrest of actor and Congress spokesperson Jafar has become a fresh flashpoint with Congress alleging that she was given treatment worse than ‘third degree’ by the police, an allegation that the UP Police has denied.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday had demanded the immediate release of Jafar, who was arrested on December 19.

“She (Jafar) was beaten up brutally by the police. She was hit on her back and her hair was pulled,” said Congress state president Ajay Kumar Lallu, who met Sadaf in jail.

Lallu claimed Jafar was peacefully protesting against the CAA when “10-15 youths with stones in their bags started hurling them. They were allowed to go by the police and she was arrested. It was all sponsored. The state government was behind the violence,” Lallu said.

“Jafar, along with others, was arrested on the spot due to her involvement in clashes. We sent her to jail after conducting her medical. We have enough evidence against her. All her charges are baseless,” ASP East Suresh Chandra Rawat said.

In Uttar Pradesh, 16 people have died and 263 police personnel were injured during the anti-CAA protests. Restrictions on mobile internet services are still in place in the state.

UP Police said they have arrested the state head of Islamic outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) and his two aides for allegedly masterminding violence in last week’s Lucknow protests.

A Delhi court on Monday dismissed bail pleas of 15 people arrested in connection with the violence in Delhi’s Daryaganj area and extended their judicial custody by two weeks.

Metropolitan magistrate Kapil Kumar dismissed the bail applications, saying there was no sufficient ground to grant them the relief.

A protest rally against the CAA and the NRC in Bengaluru drew huge crowd causing massive road jams. It is learnt that Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa had asked police to stay alert and not to allow a Mangaluru-like situation to develop in the city. Former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah demanded a judicial probe into the Mangaluru violence last week and rejected a CID inquiry ordered by Yediyurappa.

In Srinagar, the National Conference, during its provincial-level meeting, has passed two resolutions condemning the CAA and demanded the immediate release of the detained leaders and civil society members in Kashmir. The party also criticised “the violence in Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University.”

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