Mangaluru, the only city in southern India faced with violence during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, continues to be locked down under curfew on Saturday. Since Thursday, when two civilians were killed in police firing during anti-CAA protests in the city, Mangaluru has been under curfew.
Heavy police presence was seen in the streets of the city and those found outside were asked to identify themselves. Schools, colleges, shops and commercial establishments remained closed except for medical stores in the city. Hospitals remained open and worked around the clock.
"There was no disturbance to law and order on Friday in Mangaluru. The curfew will be in place till midnight on December 22," Mangaluru Commissioner PS Harsha told reporters on Friday night.
During the day, the curfew was relaxed only for two hours in the afternoon to allow prayers to be conducted in mosques in the city. At the same time, members of the Muslim community in Kudroli and Bunder assembled to pay their respects to the victims of Thursday's shooting.
â€˜Why did they shoot?â€™
Abdul Jaleel, 49, and Nausheen Kudroli, 23, were shot near Bunder Police Station after police opened fire against protesters in the area. Both were daily-wage labourers. Jaleel worked odd jobs related to fishing in Dhakke, a popular fishing dock in the city, while Nausheen was involved in welding works.
"The protesters were agitated that section 144 was imposed to disallow the protest. We have no issues with lathi charge or tear gas to contain a situation. But shooting in the air creates an atmosphere of fear and this is unprecedented in Mangaluru even though the city is known for its communal history. We are yet to come out of this atmosphere," Ashraf Kinnara, General Secretary of Sunni Yojana Sangha, Dakshina Kannada, told TNM.
While the community and the city recovers from the loss of two of its members, residents in many parts of the city had to grapple with complications caused by the curfew. Many could not buy daily grocery items including milk on Friday and had to rely on the groceries stocked at home.
Public movement affected
Public transport was limited with a few autos plying within the city. Buses within the city and traveling out of the city were unavailable on Friday. Most petrol stations remained closed.
The only institution open for the public on Friday were hospitals in the city. But doctors admitted that the lack of mobile internet facilities and the absence of many staff members due to transportation issues meant that hospitals could not function smoothly.
"The Operation Theatre and Out Patient Department in our hospital was affected because of the absence of many staff members including nurses. This placed the burden on the Emergency department of the hospital," Kriti Das, a doctor at Wenlock Hospital said.
Seven arrested, say cops
Mangaluru Commissioner PS Harsha said that seven persons were arrested in connection with Thursday's violence. Two cases were registered in Mangaluru South Police Station and five more in Mangaluru North Police Station. However, no organisations were identified as the perpetrators of violence.
The curfew continues to be in place on Saturday. In Mangaluru's Valencia area, shops which were open were forcibly shut down by the police personnel imposing the curfew. Police officials were also seen urging people on the streets to go home immediately.
The curfew is set to be in place till midnight of 22 December. "We will review relaxing the restrictions on public so that they can stock essential commodities," Mangaluru Commissioner PS Harsha added.
Police officials in the city are wary violence recurring due to Mangaluru's history of communal violence. In January 2018, the last time restrictions were placed in the city, the murder of a Hindu man was followed by a retaliation murder of a Muslim man. Deepak Rao, a BJP worker, was hacked to death at Katipalla on January 3 triggering tension and violence in the district. Following this, Basheer was waylaid and assaulted in Mangaluru on the same night and succumbed to injuries at a hospital on January 7.
Mobile internet services were snapped at 10 pm on Friday and will continue till 10 om on Sunday.