As the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests continue at Delhi's Shaheen Bagh amid the backdrop of the nationwide "Janta Curfew" being observed on an appeal from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a petrol bomb was hurled near the site on Sunday morning, demonstrators were quoted as saying by the news agency PTI.
The incident occurred around 9.30 am, however, no injuries have been reported. A police team has found five to six petrol-filled bottles at the site, PTI further reported.
According to a report in The Hindu, two unidentified persons on a bike threw a bottle filled with explosive substances around 100 metres from the protest site. Police said the bike came out of a lane in Shaheen Bagh and threw a bottle towards the police barricades. "We are scanning CCTVs to get a clue about the people who were on the bike. The situation is under control," a senior police officer told the newspaper. There was also a low intensity blast outside Jamia Millia Islamia, as per the report.
Meanwhile, on Saturday night, a scuffle broke out at Shaheen Bagh between two groups over the "Janta curfew".
" Saurabh Trivedi (@saurabh3vedi) March 22, 2020
Hundreds of demonstrators at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi have been agitating since 15 December against the Citizenship Amendment Act, National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).
Demonstrations to continue, vow protesters
Protesters at Shaheen Bagh had vowed to continue their sit-in even as Modi urged citizens to remain at their homes as a measure to combat the spread of COVID-19.
While the Delhi government had said that gatherings of more than 50 people would not be allowed, demonstrators said that not more than 50 people would be staging protests at a time.
The protesters on Friday told PTI that not more than 50 women had been staging protest at any given time.
"On Sunday, we will sit under small tents (at the protest side). Only two women will sit under each tent and maintain a distance of more than a metre between them," a protester who did not wish to be named said.
Another protester, Rizvana, said the women had been taking every precaution and they were covered in burqa all the time. "Washing hands regularly is part of our lifestyle. We offer namaz five times a day and we wash our hands every time," she said.
Ritu Kushik, another protester, said women aged above 70 and children aged less than 10 were not being allowed at the protest site. "The women are not sitting on the mattresses any more. Cots have been placed and there's a minimum distance of three metres between every two cots. Not more than two women can sit on a cot," he said.
Taseer Ahmad, one of the key organisers, said sanitisers and masks had been arranged in enough numbers, and the protest site was being disinfected at regular intervals.
Petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court seeking removal of the protesters to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The Supreme Court will hear the petitions along with other pleas pending before it in the matter on Monday.
Meanwhile, the number of people who have tested positive for coronavirus has climbed to 324, as per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
With inputs from agencies