While permission had not been granted to any group for the ant-CAA protest, civil society groups and citizens were allowed to protest nevertheless.

600 people including Thiruma Siddharth TM Krishna booked for anti-CAA protest in ChennaiPhoto: Manasa Rao
news CAA Friday, December 20, 2019 - 13:02

The Chennai police have booked around 600 protesters for taking part in the agitation against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act at Valluvar Kottam in Chennai on Thursday. Actor Siddharth, singer TM Krishna and VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan were also at the protest and have been included in the FIR.

The protesters have been booked under Section 143 of the Indian Penal Code (Punishment — Whoever is a member of an unlawful assembly, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both) and Section 41 of the The Madras City Police Act (Power to regulate assemblies, meetings and processions in public places, etc).

According to the FIR, 38 protesting groups including political parties and student bodies were booked for conducting a protest between 3.15 pm and 7.05 pm. Mohammed Ghouse of the Welfare Party whose permission was rejected has also been booked. Others in the FIR are unnamed. 

Hundreds of protesters descended at Valluvar Kottam in Nungambakkam on Thursday to demonstrate against the CAA and the National Register of Citizens. The city police had said on Wednesday that no group had been given permission for the protest. In fact, protest permission sought by Mohammed Ghouse was rejected citing 'false propaganda' in addition to a possible threat to law and order.

However, protesters assembled in defiance of the refusal. Speakers, chairs and a small stage with a mini truck was set-up past 2 pm at the protest venue even as dozens of police officers looked on. The protesters raised slogans against the CAA and NRC, in addition to calling out the Islamophobia and discrimination in government policies. Anger was also directed at the AIADMK in the state which had voted and enabled the passage of the legislation in the Rajya Sabha.

While TM Krishna gave a rendition of the hymn Raghupathi Raghava Rajaram, Thirumavalavan brought the protest to an end with a speech on why people must unite against the law.

While tense moments were witnessed towards the end of the protest with one group of protesters insisting on more time to raise slogans, this was quickly dissipated with the intervention of fellow organisers. As the police ushered the group towards the road, the protest came to a peaceful end. It is to be noted though that many rights groups have pointed out that police permission is not necessary as freedom of assembly is a Constitutional guarantee.

Show us some love! Support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.