New Delhi: Violence made its presence felt in some places as Thursday witnessed concerted efforts by the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act camp to bring national and international attention to their fight against the controversial law. Protesters from a wide social and political spectrum joined forces as protest marches and meets were organised at many places across the country on Thursday.
Almost all the major cities - Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, Lucknow, Patna, Thiruvananthapuram, and Hyderabad saw protesters on the streets despite substantial police presence and imposition of prohibitory orders at several places.
In Delhi, protesters gathered in large numbers at various places like the Red Fort, Mandi House and Jantar Mantar. Police forces deployed in large numbers kept the protests under control. A number of metro rail stations were shut as a precautionary measure.
Some of the worst protest-related violence took place in Uttar Pradesh, where media persons were attacked and OB vans were razed in Lucknow. Similar acts of violence and arson were reported from places such as Sambhal in the state, which has a BJP government at the helm.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath blamed the opposition for the violence.
In yet another BJP-ruled state, Karnataka, protests were by and large peaceful and orderly. Section 144 has been put in place in Bengaluru and other parts of the state from Thursday morning to 21 December. Prominent among those detained by the police in Bengaluru include eminent historian Ramachandra Guha.
Police fired teargas shells and carried out a baton charge to disperse 100 anti-CAA protesters who allegedly turning violent, setting a few motor bikes on fire and pelting stones on the security forces in Karnataka's Mangaluru, a police official said on Thursday. Hundreds of college students and cadres of the Left organisations and minority institutions staged protests and staged sit-in demonstrations in the Karnataka port city against the CAA and sought its repeal at the earliest.
In West Bengal, where Mamata Banerjee heads the Trinamool government, the protests were a big show of strength for the ruling party which has been fiercely opposing the CAA. Mamata fuelled the controversy by demanding a UN-monitored referendum on the law. The statements have come for sharp criticism from the BJP.
Maharashtra also witnessed protests in Mumbai and several other places in the state.
In Mumbai, the biggest procession was held at the historic August Kranti Maidan which saw a large number of celebs and political leaders like Raj Babbar, Naseem Khan, Milind Deora, Eknath Gaikwad, film personalities - Saeed Mirza, Suhasini Mulay, Farhan Akhtar, and Sushant Singh, academicians, social workers, representatives of NGOs, students, and many more sitting in protest against the CAA-NRC.
Nagpur, which is the headquarters of the RSS, also witnessed a big protest march by citizens' groups.
Other places that saw anti-CAA protests include Rajasthan, Chennai and Thiruvanantapuram.
In Rajasthan, protests were held in several districts including the capital city Jaipur where thousands belonging to the Left parties, lawyers fraternity, CIPU, People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), civil society, teachers, professors and many other organisations came together to take out a massive protest march against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
However, the protests drew a mixed response in Bihar and were largely absent from Madhya Pradesh.
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