The peace protest planned in Mangaluru against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizenship (NRC) on January 4 has been postponed.
"We have decided to postpone the event after discussions with the Home Minister and Mangaluru Police Commissioner. We will announce a new date and time soon," Haneef Khan, a member of the Muslim Central Committee, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi told TNM.
The call for the protest was issued by a delegation of various Muslim organisations led by the Muslim Central Committee, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi. The delegation met Mangaluru Police Commissioner PS Harsha and Additional Director General of Police Dayananda on Thursday and obtained permission for the protest to be held at Nehru Maidan in the city. Similarly, the BJP said that it will organise a pro-CAA event at the same venue on January 12 .
However, the protest planned on January 4 has now been postponed after a request by Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who met religious leaders in Mangaluru on Tuesday. Following the meeting, Basavaraj Bommai said, "Since the incident on Mangaluru 19, peace has prevailed in Mangaluru thanks to the cooperation of the public in the city. Our intention is to ensure that this situation of peace continues in the future. In the coming days, two events have been discussed on January 4 and January 12. We held discussions about ensuring peace is maintained at these events."
The Home Minister further added that he had asked religious leaders to postpone both events planned in the city by around 10 days. An official involved in organising the anti-CAA protest also said that there were discussions held to shift the protest venue from Nehru Maidan to Adyar Kannoor, on the outskirts of Mangaluru. "We are adamant that we want to conduct the protest at the Nehru Maidan itself instead of organising it at Adyar Kannoor or any other part of the city. But we have now been told that no group will be allowed to conduct an event at the Nehru Maidan," an official with the Muslim Central Committee said.
The protest scheduled for January 4 was set to be the first protest in the city after violence marred anti-CAA protests on December 19. Two people were killed after police opened fire on protesters near the Mangaluru North (Bunder) police station. A curfew was imposed and mobile internet services were suspended in Dakshina Kannada district for 48 hours immediately after the incident occurred.
The call for protest on December 19 was issued by the Samastha Kerala Sunni Students Federation (SKSSF). However, a day prior to the protest, prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC were imposed in Karnataka. Section 144 bars the gathering of more than five people at a public place.
Defying prohibitory orders, hundreds protested in Mangaluru and police resorted to using tear gas and lathi charge to disperse the protesters. Police later opened fire on protesters gathered in Bunder, a port area in the city, amid incidents of stone pelting and arson. The police firing killed two people – Abdul Jaleel and Nausheen – who were daily wage labourers in Mangaluru. They have been named as accused persons in an FIR registered in the Mangaluru North (Bunder) police station and their families have been denied compensation from the state government.