Anti-CAA protests: Bengaluru erupts, defies section 144

WION Web Team Bengaluru, Karnataka Dec 19, 2019, 04.23 PM(IST) Written By: Nischita Verrendra Edited By: Sparshita Saxena

Protests erupted in Kalburgi and Mangalore districts as well despite the prohibitory orders in place. Photograph:( WION )

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Protesters belonging to a multitude of civic organisations continued to pour into the city's Townhall to participate in the demonstrations. 

Protesters remained undeterred by the imposition of Prohibitory Orders in the city of Bengaluru as they took to the streets from Thursday morning to demonstrate against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act. 

Despite the imposition of Section 144 in the city, that prevents the gathering of groups of more than 4 members in public places, protesters gathered with placards and roses for what they called a peaceful demonstration. Several agitators were detained, including noted historian Ramachandra Guha. 
 
"The government is giving these orders to arrest protesters. We are protesting peacefully against this discriminatory Act passed by the Central Government. But look at what is happening. Do you see any violence here? Why are the police behaving in such a manner?" said Guha before being taken away by the police. Several civic activists and students were also detained as police were given orders to not allow big gathering up until December 21. 
 
Rajeev Gowda, Rajya Sabha MP has filed a PIL in the Karnataka High Court saying the petitioners have the right to protest and assemble peacefully which is protected under Article 19 (1) of the constitution. 

"It is a total abuse of power. The commissioner has been badly advised. The Home Secretary should have advised him properly. Section 144 has to be imposed only when there is an incitement for violence. None of that has happened here. People are peacefully protesting. People have come here to exercise their right to protest under the Constitution and to say the Constitution matters to them. If the parliament has passed a bill without discussing with the people of India, people are upset. That's why they are out and if you go and arrest them, how are you going to call this a democracy anymore. This is declaring an emergency without calling it that," said environmentalist Leo Saldanha. 
 
Protesters belonging to a multitude of civic organisations continued to pour into the city's Townhall to participate in the demonstrations. 

Dramatic scenes were witnessed as many of the peaceful protesters were forcibly carried into police vehicles and detained at different stations. 

"We came here from the National Law School of India for a silent protest. We are sitting silently across the road. Around 30 of my colleagues were loaded into a bus and taken away. I do not know where they are. One of them was manhandled. We were not doing anything," said Hamza, a student from the National Law School of India. 
 
IIM Bangalore has decided to stage a unique agitation to circumvent Section 144 imposed by the city police. At any point in time, just three protesters will stage a demonstration outside the IIM-B gates and the protesters will rotate every few minutes. 

"Section 144 allows groups of 3-4 to take turns to protest. Some of us are organizing a protest where three IIM-B members will take turns to protest. We will be at the IIM-B main gate at 6:00 pm. At any given time only three of us are going to be outside the main gate. We will be within the bounds of Section 144 and yet register our protest against the divisive CAA-NRC, the police brutality against Jamia and AMU students, and the arbitrary imposition of "144" and arrests across the country,’ read a mail circulated within the IIM-B community. 

Protests erupted in Kalburgi and Mangalore districts as well despite the prohibitory orders in place. Protesters are awaiting the hearing on the PIL against the imposition of Section 144 which they believe curtails their right to peaceful demonstration and free speech.