Anti-CAA protests: 18 Delhi Metro stations shut; scores detained in multiple cities

Last Updated: Thu, Dec 19, 2019 14:17 hrs
anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests

New Delhi: Scores of protesters were detained by the Delhi Police near Red Fort when they tried to take out a march in defiance of the prohibitory orders imposed there to protest the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

Security was heightened across the national capital on Thursday with the police detaining demonstrators protesting near the Red Fort area over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), and entry and exit gates of several metro stations were closed.

At Red Fort and Mandi House, there was heavy deployment of police forces in order to maintain law and order.

Section-144, which prohibits the gathering of four or more people, has been imposed in Red Fort area and North-East District, hours after a request by a Swaraj Abhiyan for a peaceful march against the citizenship law was denied by the police from Red Fort to Shaheed Bhagat Singh Park Park in ITO for today.

Swarajya Abhiyan chief Yogendra Yadav was among those who were detained, officials said.

'I have just been detained from Lal Qila. About a thousand protesters already detained. Thousands on the way. Am told we are being taken to Bawana,' Yadav tweeted.

Protesters, which included activists and students, were dragged into buses in a bid to clear the area. Holding placards and shouting slogans, the protesters allowed themselves to be escorted to the buses.

'I know many of our mates are being detained, despite that many have gathered here. The citizenship of this country cannot be divided and this is our protest call today,' Yadav said.

At Mandi House in New Delhi, Left leaders D Raja, Sitaram Yechury, Nilotpal Basu, Brinda Karat and others were detained for defying prohibitory orders imposed by the Delhi Police in the area.

"We are being detained," CPI general Secretary D Raja told PTI just before he was put into a bus by the police.

The Delhi Police has urged protesters to go to the designated place for their protest.

"We are requesting the protesters to please apply for the designated place for the protest. In the non-designated places, public face problems and many emergency services get affected.

"We urge people to not listen to any rumours. Section 144 has already been imposed in the area. Please cooperate with the Delhi Police," said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) Mandeep Singh Randhawa said.

Two protests are scheduled in the national capital, one by students and activists and the other by left parties.

The two marches are to meet at Shaheen Park near ITO. 

Protests resulted in huge traffic snarls across the national capital during the morning peak hours on Thursday, with the Delhi-Gurgaon route virtually chocked with vehicles.

'Police have placed barricades and are checking vehicles coming from Gurgaon to Delhi due to which the traffic is affected on the stretch,' the Delhi Traffic Police tweeted.

Traffic is heavy in the carriageway from Delhi Gate to GPO due to Swabhiman Rally, the police said.

Traffic is also affected on the Subhash Marg, Peeli Kothi, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Marg, Red Fort and Old Delhi Railway Station.
Authorities tweeted regular updates on the traffic situation.

'Traffic is heavy in the carriageway from Aya Nagar Border to Delhi and Kapashera Border to Delhi due to demonstration. Road No. 13A between Mathura Road and Kalindi Kunj is closed for traffic movement. People coming from Noida are advised to take DND or Akshardham to reach Delhi,' the Delhi Police said in a tweet.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation closed entry and exit gates of 16 stations for commuters in view of the protests.

Earlier in the morning, the DMRC had closed gates of seven stations, including Jamia Millia, Jama Masjid and Munirka.

Seven more stations were closed soon after, followed by two more.

'Entry & exit gates of Vasant Vihar and Mandi House are closed. Interchange facility is available at Mandi House,' the DMRC said in its latest tweet.

Metro stations which are closed include Patel Chowk, Lok Kalyan Marg, Udyog Bhawan, ITO, Pragati Maidan and Khan Market.

The gates of Central Secretariat were also closed but interchange facility was available for passengers.

Other stations which are closed are: Jasola Vihar Shaheen Bagh, Lal Quila, Vishwa Vidyalaya.

Sources said the entry and exit gates were closed so that people going to protest venues could be dissuaded.