Students and volunteers who gathered in Mangaluru to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Population Register (NRC) on Sunday surprised police officials on-duty by distributing national flags and roses to them.
A protest was organised at the Hazrat School Ground in Ullal in Mangaluru under the banner of Samana Manaskara Sabhe on Sunday. Members of the organisation submitted an undertaking to the police before holding the protest. This is the second major protest organised in Mangaluru since police firing led to the deaths of two people during anti-CAA protests on December 19, 2019.
On Sunday, heavy security was deployed at the protest venue in Ullal. Personnel from the Rapid Action Force (RAF), Karnataka State Police Service (KSPS), Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were present at the venue. Some police personnel were armed with batons, riot-gear and side-arms but they were left perplexed when students and volunteers came up to them and handed them roses. Around 50 students waded through the crowd of protesters to hand over the roses to the police. Some also handed over roses, water bottles and national flags to police officers.
“Once a senior officer received a flower from one of our volunteers, other police officers were also at ease and received the flower from the students,” Ismail Ullal, one of the organisers told TNM.
Ismail said that the act was humane way of letting the police officers know that the Muslim community harbours no ills against the police community. “We (programme participants and police) are both part of the same nation. We understand the policemen are just doing their job, and we are doing ours by expressing our discontent with a specific government law. Nevertheless, we are not at conflict with the police officers on-duty,” he said.
Police officials on duty said that they consulted senior officers on the phone before receiving the flowers from the protesters. “Our job mandate is to protect the people gathered and maintain law and order of the city. We are discouraged from casual interaction any group, nevertheless it was a kind gesture to acknowledge our role. Senior officials were consulted over the phone, before we were allowed to receive flowers and refreshments from the organisers,” a police officials at the Ullal ground said.
Around 6,000 people gathered at the protest meet to discuss the effects of the CAA and NRC in the country. Among them was former Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner Sasikanth Senthil, who resigned from IAS citing the clampdown in Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370 as one of the reasons.
Story by Story Infinity (Subs and Scribes Media Ventures LLP.)