BHOPAL: Despite the enforcement of Section 144 across the city, thousands of protesters gathered around Iqbal Maidan here on Friday to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Holding placards and sporting ribbon around forehead, reading ‘I am alive and I oppose NRC’, the anti-citizenship law protesters dotted almost every nook of the area holding peaceful demonstration. The protest passed off peacefully as the top police officials managed to convince the gathering to return soon. The protest started around 2 pm and continued for a around three hours under the vigilant eyes of the police personnel and officials. Security was tightened in the area with the deployment of police personnel.
The protesters though had gathered in large numbers to register their objection to the Act, however, they peacefully demonstrated and returned soon after registering their protest.
In wake of violent protests in other parts of the country, top officials of police and district administration had arrived on the ground much ahead the protesters gathered. Collector Tarun Pithode, deputy inspector general (DIG) Irshad Wali, commissioner of Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) Vijay Dutta, superintendent of police (SP) North Shailendra Singh Chouhan and additional SP, City SP rank officials remained present on the in the area from early morning and till the protest concluded.
Barricades were placed around Iqbal Maidan and traffic was diverted from Retghat route to Peergate. The vehicles heading to Peergate were made to take Ginnori route via Budhwara to reach their destination.
The protesters started gathering at Moti Mosque and soon the number swelled. Thousands of protestors could be seen dotting every inch from the mosque to Budhwara square. Another group of demonstrators joined them from Iqbal Maidan from Retghat side. However, the collector Tarun Pithode said there was no such group but individuals. “The administration ensured that no gathering takes place as the Section 144 was in force in the state capital, said the collector.
Huge deployment of cops at Retghat, Budhwara, Moti mosque besides inside and outside Iqbal Maidan.
The road leading to Peergate from Gauhar Mahal was blocked for vehicular movement, only pedestrians were allowed
Protesters after offering Friday prayer came out of the mosque and in peaceful manner registered their protest against CAA.
Tarun Pithode, collector Bhopal said the gathering was of devotees who had come to offer namaaz at Moti mosque. The gathering was peaceful and there was no untoward incident reported, he added.
Police identifying protestors, to be booked for rule violation: Police will register case against persons who had assembled around Iqbal Maidan to register their protest against CAA and proposed NRC as Section 144 was in force in the city. The video footage of the area is now being looked into to identify the persons who participated in the protest. No public gathering was allowed in the city following imposition of Section 144. However, thousands of people had gathered to register their protest on Friday around Iqbal maidan. They remained present on the ground staging peaceful protest for several hours. The police department has now decided to register cases against them under Section 188 for violating the orders of the administration and assembling in a very large number.
Superintendent of police (SP) north Shailendra Singh Chouhan said the gathering was illegal as Section 144 was enforced in city. We are looking into the legal perspectives and anyone found guilty will be booked, he added.