Anti-CAA protests continue: Section 144 imposed in Lucknow ahead of Republic Day

Lucknow: Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC have been imposed in Lucknow in view of Republic Day and the Defence Expo and most importantly, the ongoing protests against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The move to impose the prohibitory orders was taken by Police Commissioner Sujeet Pandey late Saturday night, who said that it had been done to maintain law and order in the coming weeks. The ongoing protest against the citizenship laws at the Clock Tower in Lucknow, on the lines of New Delhi's Shaheen Bagh protest, has gathered momentum and despite efforts by the police, the women have refused to budge from the site.

The women, most of them elderly, have claimed that the policemen snatched their blankets and poured water on the bonfire that they lit to keep themselves warm. Rubia, 72, sitting with a blanket wrapped around her, said: "We are not causing any disturbance to either the Republic Day parade or the Defence Expo. We will not budge an inch from here till CAA and NRC is withdrawn. My parents and grandparents were born in India and they did not leave any papers for us to show to the government. We have assembled with our children and it is our fight for our rights."

Ishat Jahan, 75, said she was protesting to support her nephew and many others who had been arrested on December 19, 2019 after an anti-CAA protest here turned violent. The number of protesters at Clock Tower has been steadily swelling since it began three days ago. The cops have been trying to dissuade protestors but to no avail.

"The cops puncture our vehicles, issue challans and shoo away vendors in order to break the protest but we are prepared to face all kinds of atrocities," said Shahab, a student whose mother and three sisters are on protest. The protest, which essentially began with Muslim women and children, now has a sizeable presence of Hindu and Sikh women.

Holding posters of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr B.R. Ambedkar and Bhagat Singh, the women raise slogans of "Inquilab Zindabad" and sing Ram Prasad Bismil's "Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna". Young boys have been entrusted the task of bringing them food, tea, quilts and warm clothes.

"The police have tried all tricks to break our resolve. They have snapped electricity and public toilets were locked. They are stopping men and even young boys from joining the protest but nothing has worked," said Zaheer Khan, whose mother and aunt are among the protesters.

Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (West Zone) Vikas Tripathi denied the allegations and said: "We did not take away any belongings from the protesters. We only stopped those who were setting up tents at the spot because it is not a designated dharna venue. Hence, such arrangements cannot be allowed." Companies of RAF have also been deployed at the site.

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