Even as several groups in Chennai continue to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), the City Police Commissioner AK Viswanathan promulgated an order prohibiting all protests, meetings, assemblies etc. for the next 15 dates.
The Hindu reported that Monday’s order has been brought into effect under section 41 of the Tamil Nadu City Police Act 1888, which grants police the “power to regulate assemblies, meetings and processions in public places.” The order that is passed will not apply to any procession or demonstration for which permission has already been granted. Applicants are also advised to apply for grant of permission five days in advance.
Further, “any assembly or procession purely for the purpose of taking part in sports or for a wedding, funeral or similar events will not be included in the order,” it read.
The order has been issued at a time when the city has been witnessing protests against the contentious CAA, with regular meetings and candlelight protests being held at Valluvar Kottam. The order will now prohibit assemblies, processions, demonstrations, fasts, human chain and other forms of gathering for the next 15 days.
According to reports, the commissioner has acted on reports that fasts, protests and demonstrations will be held in the city’s roads which may lead to an obstruction of traffic, cause public inconvenience and disrupt law and order.
Last month, eight persons including five women were detained by the police for drawing kolams on a street in Besant Nagar against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Although the protesters had informed that they would be drawing kolams on Fourth Main Road in Besant Nagar, they were detained by the Sastri Nagar police in a nearby community hall for unlawful assembly.
The Commissioner's orders come on the same day six persons including five women were detained in Chennai for protesting against CAA. At the time, police officials had attempted to forcibly detain the protesters citing Section 41 of the TN City Police Act. Despite one of the activists Radhika asking officials on the ground to show the orders, the police personnel insisted that they be taken to the police station.
Following their detention, the group submitted a letter to the station-in-charge, which stated, “We repeatedly requested the police to show us the prohibitory order (sec 41 of the Madras Police act) and assured that we will disperse if such an order was shown to us. However, they did not heed and used undue force to grab, drag and push us into a van. We would also like to mention that we are only 5 women and 1 man. One of whom is disabled and another is a non Tamilian. We are deeply distressed by this undemocratic police brutality. We request that our complaint against the officers who manhandled be immediately filed and due cause be shown for this detention.”