A flash protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) gained massive traction overnight in Hyderabad as hundreds of people gathered under the Tolichowki flyover in the city on Sunday night.
The protest, which was started by women, soon saw many others join in, as a crowd was mobilised via social media and WhatsApp. The protesters were peaceful and held up Indian flags and raised slogans against the Centre's controversial CAA and NRC.
However, the city police was alerted soon and reached the spot before midnight. It was only in the early hours of Monday that authorities were able to break up the protest.
"Many people have come here without any invitation. We are not disturbing traffic or creating any law and order problem. Yet, the police is trying to stop us despite our requests. We are going to continue because protesting and dissent is our right. We want to assure the police that it is a peaceful protest and request their cooperation," one of the protesting women told reporters.
Those who had gathered said that they wanted to replicate the protests at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi. Hundreds of women have been staging a continuous sit-in protest at Shaheen Bagh, since December 15 against the CAA, prompting people from across the city to visit them and express their solidarity.
Women protesting fearlessly and peacefully at #NajeebVemulasquare #Tolichowki in #Hyderabad on 12th evening which went on until 13th morning despite heavy police deployment#HyderabadFlashProtest #CAA_NRC_Protests #indiaagainstcaa pic.twitter.com/bUxhyFPcAF— Almaas Masood (@AlmaasMasood) January 13, 2020
However, in the early hours of Monday, as senior police officials stepped in, security personnel began detaining male protesters and took them to the Goshamahal parade ground. The police also allegedly indulged in mild lathicharge to disperse those who had gathered.
Police trying to disperse the crowd at the sit-in protest under Tolichowki Flyover, Hyderabad, probably trying to prevent another #ShaheenBagh. But no going back for the Hyderabadi public.— Just Hyderabadi Things (@JustHydThings) January 12, 2020
It was originally a womens protest, but became inclusive as crowd came in.#CAAProtest pic.twitter.com/UBXA19uqiv
While a few people were injured in the melee, it remains to be seen if the police will register cases against the protesters, for gathering without permission. Several city-based advocates and activists have come forward to offer legal help already, if the police decides to register cases.
The protest has been dispersed by police by detaining all the men and women have been given a deal to vacate the place only then the men would be released. It was a defining protest against #CAA_NRC_NPR #tolichowki#HyderabadFlashProtest #NajeebVemulaSquare— Abdul Mumin -عبدالمومن (@AbulMumin) January 12, 2020
Just earlier this week, the city witnessed a massive gathering against the CAA and NRC.
The Tiranga Rally, led by the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi under the banner of United Muslims Action Committee, saw a huge turnout with people chanting anti-CAA slogans and waving the national flag.
The rally which began at Mir Alam Eidgah culminated in a public meeting at the Shastripuram grounds, where Owaisi and other leaders of the United Muslim Action Committee addressed the gathering.
Hyderabad also witnessed a 'Million March' earlier this month, after over one lakh people turned up at Tank Bund, Indira Park and Dharna Chowk, to register their dissent against CAA and NRC.