Sit-down protests with conditions, but no marches allowed: Bengaluru Commissioner

The Commissioner's statement comes ahead of fresh protests organised against the CAA in Bengaluru on Thursday and Friday.
Sit-down protests with conditions, but no marches allowed: Bengaluru Commissioner
Sit-down protests with conditions, but no marches allowed: Bengaluru Commissioner
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Update: Prohibitory orders under Section 144 have been imposed in Karnataka, including in Bengaluru, from 6 am on December 19 till midnight on December 21.

A series of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act rippled through Bengaluru this week.

A protest organised by students on Tuesday marked the third consecutive day of protests in the city and also led to the detention and subsequent release of at least nine students at the SJ Park Police Station.

Faced with fresh calls for protests on Thursday and Friday, Bengaluru Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao told TNM that police officials in the city will allow only "sit-down protests with conditions". This means that protest marches and rallies will not be allowed in the city. 

"Permissions will be granted for sit-down protests for limited time with conditions formed by the jurisdictional police officer. This is to ensure that peace prevails," Bhaskar Rao stated.

He said that students in the city should be wary of miscreants causing disturbance during protests. "Students should be mindful that on account of their participation, if someone else hijacks the situation, they will be held responsible," he said.

He also questioned the need for students to protest against events taking place in universities in New Delhi. The protests by students against the CAA intensified following reports of police action at the Jamia Milia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University on Sunday. The incidents in New Delhi and Aligarh sparked fresh protests in Bengaluru on Monday and Tuesday. 

"(Protests are) being organised by those (students) who have come here to study from outside. Parents have spent money to send them here to study and not engage in protests. I don't want to jeopardise the city with activities like this," Bhaskar Rao added. 

The groups organising a protest are required to inform the police about time and place of the protest and others details, such as how many people will attend it. On Tuesday, a student protest at Town Hall in the city was denied permission and students who turned up for the protest were detained by police near Town Hall. "The police recognised one of us and took us away without explaining the situation to us. Our phones were confiscated and we were not allowed to speak with our parents or lawyers," one of the detained students told TNM. The detentions were carried out by KS Tanveer Ahmed, police inspector at SJ Park Police Station. 

The students were later released around 3 pm, four hours after they were detained. Following this, the organisers of the protest decided to march from Kanteerava Stadium to Freedom Park instead of gathering at Town Hall.

Fresh protests are planned in the city on Thursday and Friday. On Thursday, a protest will be held at Town Hall at 11 am under the banner of ''Hum Bharat ke Log'', which is supported by NGOs, citizen groups and the major opposition parties including the Congress and the NCP. Five left parties - CPI(M), CPI, CPI(ML) L, Forward Bloc and RSP - will also hold an agitation against NRC and CAA at Mysore Bank Circle at 11 am. On Friday, students from various colleges in Bengaluru will hold another protest at 5 pm at Town Hall. 

On Monday, activists belonging to the Campus Front of India were detained in Mangaluru for protesting against the CAA. Following this, prohibitory orders under section 144 were imposed from 9 pm on Wednesday till Saturday at midnight. Police officials said that the decision was taken to impose section 144 to maintain peace in the city. Police officials said that the protesters were denied permission for the agitation. 

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