Anti-CAA protest in Chennai turns violent as police begin to use force
Everything was peaceful till around 5.30 p.m. when police swamped the protest venue in Old Washermanpet area in hundreds.by Udhav Naig
What started as a peaceful anti-CAA protest by Islamic organisations on Friday afternoon in Old Washermanpet turned violent by night as policemen first used lathicharge and then started forcibly removing the protesters to disperse the crowd.
According to the protesters, over 1,000 women and 200 men from various streets in Lalagunda area after the prayers on Friday afternoon. “We did not even come to the main road and were protesting on the streets and in front of the homes,” a protester said.
Everything was peaceful till around 5.30 p.m. when police swamped the area in hundreds. “They spoke to the protesters and asked them to stop the protest and disperse. As we did not heed their advise, the police used force to chase us away,” he said.
Residents said the protesters sustained injuries in the melee. “Close to 50 were pushed into a bus and detained in a marriage hall,” said a member of Socialist Democratic Party of India (SDPI).
At around 8 p.m, the protesters began to agitate demanding the release of those who were arrested earlier in the evening. As the protesters, who slowly began filling up the narrow streets of the area, refused to budge, the police began removing the protesters forcibly.
The confrontation led to tension, chaos and scuffle. Some policemen were seen beating up and kicking the protesters as they were taken to the police vehicle. There was stone throwing, which was quickly brought under control, said the police.
After a while, the police fell back and the organisers held talks with the senior police officers. Later in the night, the Islamic leaders told the protesters that the police had given assurance that all the arrested would be released and asked the crowd to disperse.
Meanwhile, the organisers said an elderly person died in his house due to shock. Police said the old man was under treatment for a few years.