Hyderabad: The Dharna Chowk meeting of the BJP on Monday morning has riled protesters against the Citizenship Amendment Act, who want to know why the police are allowing selective meetings of political parties such as the BJP, TRS and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, to be held but denying permission to the public at large.
Questions are being raised on how permissions for public meetings and rallies are being allowed by the police for those espousing the pro-CAA cause when the anti-CAA protesters are not being given permission for a meeting.
Amjedullah Khan of Majlis Bachao Tehreek said, “On one side RSS and BJP are being allowed to conduct meetings and rallies but the Congress and Muslim organisations apart from MIM are not being allowed. Why are the police doing this? Law should be equal for one and all. Has the Hyderabad city police lost credibility by not being impartial?”
There was no internet shut down at the Dharna Chowk meeting and there were constant updates and also videos circulating instantly as the meetings were being carried out.
There were barricades placed but there were no people being pulled out by the police as has been seen in the case of protesters who had turned out for the Million March on December 28. It was only after the arrival of senior BJP leaders that the police moved in to manage the crowd.
While it was a peaceful, pro-CAA meet, there was anger and also confusion on social media about whether the police had actually given permission for the meeting.
Protesters in Hyderabad were very upset when the police had tweeted that there will be no million march, but in the case of the Dharna Chowk meeting, their Twitter handle was silent.
Confused youngsters on Twitter asked, “Sir please tell us if they have permission to carry out pro-CAA rally? Or are they doing without permission? If they have permission then why are you not giving permission to Million March? If they do not have permission what action you are taking? Please clarify.”
Anjani Kumar, Hyderabad city police commissioner, said, “First of all people must understand that there are three police jurisdictions in the city. If people are taking out a rally outside Hyderabad jurisdiction I am not responsible. We have very clearly stated that there will be no rallies as it causes inconvenience to the people. Those who want to have a meeting in their party office why will we stop them. The police have to maintain law and order in the city.”
But there are allegations that the police are biased and soft on those close to the ruling party and not allowing civil society or opposition parties to hold protests. Dharna Chowk has been designated by the High Court as a place protests can be held, but civil society protestors and opposition leaders are not being allowed to collect there. Dr Dasoju Sravan, national spokesperson of the All India Congress Committee said, “Hyderabad police commissioner Anjani Kumar is behaving like a puppet in the hands of TRS and MIM. The police commissioner can give permission for an RSS march and a MIM public meeting but is denying the Congress party permission for a peaceful rally from Gandhi Bhavan to Ambedkar Statue at Tank Bund.”
The Congress party alleged that the police commissioner has continuously denied permission to those who want to carry out a peaceful rally and this is not the first time he is citing the ‘law and order’ issue.
Sravan questioned why Anjani Kumar, who belongs to the Andhra cadre, is serving in Telangana. He alleged that Kumar was continuing in the post because he was serving the ruling party and acting as per its directions.
Responding to the reaction of IPS Officers Association on the issue, Sravan said that the cap of an IPS officer carries the national emblem as it signifies pride and honour. IPS officers are expected to act as per the law and Constitution.
However, he said, some IPS officers in Telangana have been serving as ‘slaves’ of TRS leaders. He said the IPS officers should introspect on their behaviour and start working as per the Constitution.
Anti-CAA, NRC advocates boycott court, stage protest
Advocates skipped court proceedings and demonstrated against the CAA, NRC and NPR in front of the Nampally Criminal Courts Complex here on Monday.
Speaking on the occasion, one of the protesters Jaleel Ahmed said, “We demand the Union Government to revoke the amendments carried out in Citizenship Act and refrain from NPR and NRC. We are opposing NPR because the Centre has added the point base for census enumeration, which leads to NRC. There is no need to the National Register of Citizens (NRC) at this juncture in the country, but there is a need to maintain a National Register of Unemployment (NRU). Educated youth are not getting jobs. Likewise, there is a need to focus on National Education Reforms (NER) instead of the National Population Register (NPR) to ensure development.”
S.M. Azam, another advocate, contended that both Narendra Modi and Amit Shah are confused. They are coming up contradictory statements, which is quite preposterous. He said instead of wasting public funds on detention centres, the government should construct health centres and provide better amenities. Government should focus on primary education and safety of women. He said there was an urgent need to strengthen the police wing.
Advocates Afzaluddin, Mohammed Asad Ali, M. Sohail, Iqbal Ahmed and activist Khalida Parveen also addressed the protesters.