CAA Protests: What to do when you're detained?
Photo: PTI

The newly created Citizenship Amendment Act has seen protests from all quarters of India. Since getting the presidents assent, hundreds have been detained by the police, and in many places clashes have also turned violent.

Take today, that is December 19 for example. Hundreds of students, activists and opposition leaders were detained in Delhi after defying prohibitory orders to protest against the new citizenship law. The gates of around 20 metro stations had to be shut and restrictions were also temporarily placed on mobile internet services and traffic movement.

In Bengaluru, where Section 144 has been imposed, a similar situation could be seen. Hundreds of people, including noted historian Ramchandra Guha were detained in Bengaluru and other cities in Karnataka on Thursday for defying the prohibitory orders and staging protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, police said.

Official numbers just from the vicinity of the Town Hall in Bengaluru stood at around 200.

But what exactly are your rights if you have been detained by the police?

The first thing to note is the fact that there is a whole world of difference between between being 'detained' and being 'arrested'. The former means that you have not been charged with any crime, but are simply being kept in police custody for certain reasons and on grounds of reasonable suspicion. A detained person can be questioned by the police.

Most of the people, when it comes to the recent protests, were detained, not arrested.

A person can only be arrested if they are being charged for a crime. Once arrested he has to be produced before a magistrate within a day. Keep in mind that a detention might later pan out into an arrest.

A detention cannot extend indefinitely. In the context of being detained by the police during a protest, it would usually be in a vehicle from which you're usually transferred to the police station or something similar.

Women should be detained separately from men and if detained, you can ask officials why you're being held.

It is advisable to co-operate and also contact someone to let them know of the situation at such a time.

Keep in mind that in a detention during a protest the police cannot take possession of your personal belongings.

As The News Minute explains, since there is no actual record of your detention, you are not obligated to furnish the police with your personal details for the duration of your detainment.

There are no special rights postulated for such brief detentions. Detention, in the long run can also be construed to have violated an individual's personal liberty as enshrined in Article 21.

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Free Press Journal