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Clashes break out between police and anti-CAA protesters in Aligarh

Deputy Inspector General of Police (Aligarh range) Preetinder Singh, meanwhile, told PTI that police have also detained some persons after the violence

Press Trust of India  |  Aligarh (UP) 

A police man throws a tear gas shell towards protesters to disperse them during clashes in Srinagar

Clashes broke out between police and anti-CAA protesters indulging in arson and stone-pelting in the old city area here on Sunday, during which a 22-year-old man was shot at and injured by a miscreant, said officials.

With protesters indulging in vandalisation of property and throwing stones at security personnel in upper Kot area under Kotwali police station area, the police fired teargas shells to disperse the mob, said District Magistrate Chandra Bhushan Singh.

Following the violence, the adminstration also suspended internet services in the city till midnight today as a precautionary measure, Singh added.

Deputy Inspector General of Police (range) Preetinder Singh, meanwhile, told PTI that police have also detained some persons after the violence.

The protesters have been evicted from their "dharna" site, he added.

DM Singh said the violence broke out at a spot on the Mohamed Ali Road leading to the Kotwali police station where some women protestors were holding a dharna since Saturday with the police trying to evict protesters from there.

The trouble began around 5 pm when the police tried to persuade women protestors at Upper Kot near Kotwali to evict them from the road, he said.

"We told them that women protestors were already holding a dharna at Eidgah and they would not be permitted to hold another such protest near Kotwali," said Singh.

He said "even as efforts were underway to convince women to leave the area with prominent Muslim citizens of the area, including the Sahar mufti Abdul Khalid trying to defuse the situation, mayhem broke out and brick-batting started.."

The district magistrate said police used tear gas shells to disperse the mob.

"An electricity department transformer was set afire but police managed to douse the flames before they could spread," he said.

Describing the situation in Upper Kot area as "tense but under control" Singh said "an intense patrolling of the affected areas is underway and the police are trying to trace out those who were "instigating" the women protestors at Upper Kot since yesterday"

There were also reports of injuries to some people but the exact number of those injured in clashes is yet to ascertained, said official sources.

One of the injured included 22-year-old man Tariq, whose father and brother told police that he suffered the bullet injury after a "miscreant" opened fire at him amid clashes between police and protesters.

Tariq was admitted at Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital at Aligarh Muslim University here, where doctors described his condition as "serious".

The victim has suffered the bullet injury in stomach, they said.

Tariq's father told police at the hospital in presence of this PTI reporter that his son was standing in front of his house when he was shot at by a miscreant whom he recognises.

DIG Preetinder Singh told PTI that the police resorted to "use of force" after protesters targeted them with heavy stone-pelting.

"Some of the anti-CAA protestors at city's Turkmaan Gate area pelted stones at a police jeep, after which police used force and pushed them back. Some people have been detained. The CCTV footage is being examined. Strict action will be initiated against guilty persons," he said.

"A protest was going on near Kotwali police station (in Aligarh), and women were staging protests. There was a rumour that police have arrested someone after which people started pelting stones on police vehicles and damaged them.

"Police used force to disperse the protestors, and the protesters were evicted from the site," he added.

The clashes in the old city area broke out shortly after a Bhim Army-led march by hundreds of anti-CAA protesters heading to the district collectorate earlier were stopped midway by police and Rapid Action Force jawans.

Stopped by police, the protesters, however, had headed towards the Eidgah area in the city where another group of anti-CAA women protestors had been holding an indefinite dharna for the past three weeks.

As the Bhim Army-led protestors, including women, were stopped by police from moving ahead after they crossed the Katpula Bridge from the old city, they decided to join women protesters in Eidgah area.

The protesters had taken out the march on a call by Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar.

Aligarh SSP Rajmuni, who took over the charge as the district police only last night, had earlier told mediapersons that following the abortive march, an FIR has been lodged against three persons at the Delhi Gate police station for trying to violate prohibitory orders and breach peace in the city.

The new SSP said he was monitoring the situation arising out of the anti-CAA protests, going on both at the AMU and the old city area.

He had said our "channels of communications with protesters are going to remain open but it does not mean we will allow anybody to disturb the city's law and order".

First Published: Sun, February 23 2020. 22:14 IST