CAA protests in Delhi: At Hauz Rani, protesters claim lathicharge, police say mild force used

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Police lathicharge protesters against CAA and NRC in Lucknow on December 19. (Express file photo)

Women and men who were taking out an anti-CAA march in South Delhi’s Hauz Rani Sunday evening alleged that police resorted to lathicharge during their “peaceful protest” — a charge denied by top officers.

They have been protesting against CAA at Hauz Rani’s Gandhi Park for over a month. According to those at the site, after Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad’s call for a Bharat bandh on Sunday, they decided to hold a small march on Press Enclave Road. While Azad’s call for a bandh was against SC’s order on reservation in promotions, anti-CAA protesters gathered at several places in response to it.

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“We marched on the main road peacefully and were returning to Gandhi Park when some women slowed down as they were tired. I was among them. Suddenly, police started to push us... I fell, along with several others. The men were beaten with batons. A young protester took me to the hospital,” alleged Kusum, who goes by one name, and has been at the protest for a month.

The injured were taken to Madan Mohan Malviya Hospital in Malviya Nagar on scooters via bylanes as the roads were barricaded. “Over 30 patients have been brought to the hospital with mild injuries such as abrasions and lacerations. No one is critically injured,” said Dr Ramesh Chugh, the hospital’s medical superintendent. Officials at AIIMS Trauma Centre said 10 people were brought in with minor injuries.

Police denied the lathicharge and said they used “mild force”. DCP (South) Atul Kumar Thakur said, “Protesters tried to block traffic at multiple locations. Many protesters verbally and physically abused police personnel and pushed female personnel towards the barricades, bit them and heckled them.They were persuaded and they returned to the protest site. Police personnel showed extreme restraint... Many police personnel, including women personnel, were injured and suitable action as per law is being taken.”

Allegations of lathicharge will be looked into, he said.