A group of Bengaluru residents, who had planned an event to read out the Constitution at Town Hall, were allegedly manhandled by the city police on Saturday. According to protesters at the venue, the group called Bangalore Vigils had gathered to read out the Constitution. However, the police, who were present at the venue, began dragging the people away.
According to Itisha, a veteran flying officer, who was present at the reading, the SJ Park Police reached the spot and allegedly began dragging away one of the men who was at the reading. Another protester, who was videotaping the incident, was allegedly manhandled by the police.
Speaking to TNM, SJ Park Police Inspector Tanveer said that one man was detained and is being questioned. "This man was posing as a media person. We are just asking him a few questions to verify if he is from the media or not and we will let him go," Inspector Tanveer said.
Itisha says that one of the organisers of the event, Vikram Vincent, had approached DCP Central Chetan Singh Rathore to procure police permission for the event on Friday.
"He requested the DCP for permission. The DCP, under CrPC 107 (security for keeping the peace), imposed a surety of Rs 1 lakh. Vikram told the DCP that he would challenge that in court and DCP refused to give us permission on Saturday. We decided to go ahead with the gathering and reading of the Constitution anyway," Itisha says.
Prior to this event, a peaceful protest was held at Town Hall, where former IAS officer Sashikant Senthil, who resigned over CAA, and a few other activists had taken part in the anti-CAA and NRC agitation.
Inspector Tanveer said that police was only asking the protesters to disperse after the event got over and denied that protesters were manhandled.
"There were people coming and going. People were singing the national anthem and some of them were walking in and out of the venue. That is disrespectful, especially when the national anthem was being sung. Since the event got over, we asked them to disperse. Some people came without permission, so we asked them to disperse. No one manhandled any person," Inspector Tanveer said.
Bangalore Vigils had conducted similar events, where the Constitution was read out, on January 21, followed by another event on January 23. The third session was to be held between 8 pm to 10 pm on Saturday.
Several protests have been held at Town Hall condemning the CAA and NRC since December 17, 2019. On December 17, 11 college students, who had gathered to protest against the violence at Aligarh Muslim University and also against the CAA and NRC were detained by the SJ Park Police as they were not granted police permission. The police confiscated their phones and students had alleged that they had been manhandled then too.