Hyderabad: Taking everyone by surprise, a dozen people staged a sudden “flash protest” against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the middle of the Hyderabad Book Fair on Saturday.
Even before the policemen stationed at the venue, NTR stadium near Indira Park, could realise what was going, the protesters took out their placards on the dais and held them up in front of a statue of Gandhi. The police moved in quickly, snat-ched the placards and escorted the protesters out of the venue.
Mr Imran Siddiqui, an activist who came to the protest, said, “The police did not allow the Million March to happen today. Why? How else can us citizens stage protests, which is something we are constitutionally allowed to do?”
Ms Natasha, another protester, said she was upset with the way the police was treating them.
A dozen ordinary citizens turned up in the middle of the Hyderabad Book Fair, being held inside NTR Stadium near Indira Park, to stage a ‘flash protest’ against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC). Before the policemen stationed at the venue to manage crowds at the fair could realise what was going, the protesters took out their placards and held them up in front of a statue of Gandhi. However, soon enough, the police came in, snatched away their placards and escorted them out of the venue.
The modus operandi of guerrilla protests has caught on among citizens of the city. The protesters said they were left with no choice but to protest this way since Telangana police was not giving permissions to any of them. Imran Siddiqui, an activist who came to the protest, said, “The police did not allow the Million March to happen today. Why? How else can us citizens stage protests, which is something we are constitutionally allowed to do?”
Natasha, another protester, too said she was upset with the way the police was treating them.
The police stationed there were quick to call in reinforcements. They called a sub-inspector, who instructed them to take away all the placards from the activists. The activists refused but had no choice but to comply. They agreed to leave the place in order to get their placards back. The police did not relent.
However, V. Laxmi Narayana, sub-inspector said, “We only ask them to leave. How can we let them leave with the placards? How are we to know that these people will go somewhere else with those placards and stage a dharna there? Wouldn’t we be held accountable for this?” Soon enough, S Sreeni- vasa Rao, Gandhinagar SHO was called. In spite of a lengthy discussion, Rao too refused to give the placards back and asked the protesters to collect them from the police station the next day. Rao explained the situation from his point of view: “These people sprung up a protest in a crowded place. They didn’t inform the police. If someone at the location objects to the protest and picks up a fight with them, and it turns bloody, won’t we be held accountable for it? We have no choice but to take the placards.” As the protesters and policemen argued, a crowd gathered to see what the commotion was about. These people realised soon that it was a protest against NRC and CAA. If all the protesters wanted was to raise awareness to their cause, it seemed they had succeeded at it one way or another.