Hundreds of people gathered at Bengaluru’s Town Hall on Monday to show their support to the students of Jamia Millia Islamia University and Aligarh Muslim University, who were injured during police action at Sunday’s protests. Bengaluru activists and citizens, along with the All India Democratic Students Organisation (AIDSO) organised a protest against Sunday’s incident in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, as well as against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
At 4 pm, when the protest was scheduled to begin, there were police barricades put up in front of the Town Hall to dissuade people from standing there to hold their protest. There was also a SWAT vehicle, a water canon vehicle, with several police cars and buses were standing by.
Tanveer Ahmed, the inspector of the SJP police station, told reporters gathered there that 7,000 people showed up for the protest held on Sunday, while organisers had asked for permission for only three hundred people. This caused inconvenience to the public as well as created problems for the police to maintain law and order.
Citing this, the inspector along with other police officers began shooing away protesters. A small group of protesters and the police got agitated, and the discussion got heated about the protest being called off. Three to five people were taken away by the police to the nearest police station. The police alleged to reporters that one of the protesters had been extremely disrespectful, and this is why they were taken away in a police vehicle to SJP Police station.
Vishesh Guru, a student organiser, told the inspector that he had already given an intimation letter to the Commissioner of Police, and this letter was sealed by that office. However, the police did not accept and asked Vishesh to approach the DCP for permission. By that time, several protesters had arrived at the venue, and the numbers began to swell. They then decided to begin protesting without the additional permission.
Hundreds attended the protest on Sunday, with many shouting the Preamble of the Constitution in turns, and pledged to defend the Constitution. They then sat down on the road before the barricades to shout slogans against the Narendra Modi government and Amit Shah. They shouted slogans demanding freedom from the NRC, from the CAA, and condemned the Delhi police’s action against the protesters. The protestors also sang the national anthem when the protest was being wrapped up.
The JD(S) MLA candidate from Shivajinagar, Tanveer Ahmed was also at the protest, along with Asif, who is a former TV channel host. Mohammad Shouaib, an LLB student from Al-Ameen college, said that many of the student protesters were upset that the protest being hijacked by politicians. “The protest was organized by students, for the students. Nobody knows who invited them (politicians), they just showed up and took over the sloganeering and the protests.” Shouaib added.
The Bengaluru police allowed the protest to go on for an hour, after the police were assured that the protest would go on peacefully.
Speaking to TNM after he was released, Nagakarthik, one of those who were picked up by the police, said that they were not charged, and the police allowed them to go home after two hours, after the protesters were dispersed. The person who had an altercation with the police told TNM that the inspector had pulled him up for taking a picture of the police vehicles, and for not revealing his name to the police.
Videos from Sunday show the police opening fire on protesters, and several videos show the police resorting to lathi charge and teargas, allegedly because students were throwing stones. According to news reports, several journalists were also injured by the police while they were doing their duty of covering the incidents. The Jamia vice-chancellor has demanded a high-level enquiry as to why the police entered the college campus without permission.
Protests erupted across the country in several different cities against the CAA, with Bengaluru itself having a massive protest attended by thousands of people.