Activists say that since the December 19 violence in Mangaluru, it has become harder to obtain permission from the police for anti-CAA demonstrations.

Mangaluru cops asked for Rs 2 crore as deposit for anti-CAA protests allege activistsPTI File image
news Protest Sunday, January 05, 2020 - 11:36

Mangaluru police demanded a ‘cautionary deposit’ of Rs 2 crore from those wishing to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), activists have alleged. 

According to the Secretary of Muslim Central Committee (MCC), Mohammed Haneef, following the December 19 violence, it has become harder to obtain permission from the police to hold any demonstration against the CAA.

"They are demanding a cautionary deposit of as high as Rs 2 crore to hold a demonstration anywhere in public. In my recollection, never before in history has the city police asked for such deposits. In the 50 years of its existence, the MCC has been known for conducting peaceful protests and demonstrations, despite any disagreement with any government policy,” he said.

According to Haneef, MCC was forced to withdraw its awareness drive on CAA and National Register of Citizens (NRC) scheduled to be held on January 4, after the police allegedly demanded a large sum of money as a ‘cautionary deposit’ for conducting the protest. 

“We have members coming from poor and marginalized sections of the society, how can the police expect such a large amount on such short notice? We have no option but to withdraw our awareness drive since we were not granted any space for peaceful gathering,” he said.

In a clarification, Mangaluru City Police said that the permission to conduct the protest at Nehru Maidan was turned down over law and order and traffic issues. 

“Nehru Maidan was not a suitable venue for massive gatherings of protestors as civic work is going on in the surrounding area of the ground (Clock Tower to AB Shetty Circle) due to Smart City Project (SCP). Only one route is functional for traffic, roads are dug and it poses a threat to public life if large crowds gather,” the statement read.

The statement added that the area is surrounded by hospitals and fire-stations and a large crowd may affect movement.“If the traffic is choked due to the presence of heavy footfall, it might disrupt emergency services from performing their duties. An appeal has already been made to MCC to suggest an alternative proposal,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, the organizer of Samana Manaskara Sabhe (SMS), which has been given permission to hold a protest at Hazrath ground at Ullal on Sunday, said that the Mangaluru City Police has taken an undertaking from all 50 members. 

“This is unprecedented. We (50 members) had to sign a document that we will be responsible for maintaining law and order during the protest. However, we have not been asked to pay any deposit amount,” he said.

Meanwhile, repeated attempts to contact Mangaluru City Police Commissioner PS Harsha were unsuccessful. However, a city police official stated that in the wake of unprecedented violence on December 19, the police has the authority to take the required measures. 

“In the previous incident, public property was damaged and the protestors have walked away without any consequence or liability. So it is the need of the hour to fix liability, including financial liability, in the larger public interest,” he said.

Story by Story Infinity (Subs and Scribes Media Ventures LLP.)

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