New Delhi: Clashes broke out Sunday evening between pro and anti-CAA groups near Jaffrabad in northeast Delhi which was gripped by tension when a large number of people who have been protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act blocked a road.
Police fired tear gas shells as members of the two groups pelted stones at each other in Maujpur. For security reasons, the entry and exit gates of the Maujpur-Babarpur metro station were closed.
Gates of the Jaffrabad station were also closed earlier in the day and a large number of security personnel deployed as hundreds of demonstrators, mostly women, blocked a road near the metro station since the Saturday evening, demanding a rollback of the contentious act.
BJP leader Kapil Mishra too had called a gathering near the Maujpur traffic signal, demanding that the police remove anti-CAA protestors within three days.
Later in the afternoon, a clash erupted between the two groups which blamed each other for starting the violence.
Delhi Police personnel stopped the pro-CAA protestors when they tried to march towards Kardampuri where another anti-CAA protest was on.
“We are trying to identify the people behind the incident,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Eastern Range) Alok Kumar told reporters.
The situation is under control now, a senior police official said. “We are continuously speaking to local leaders so that peace prevails in the area and are also requesting protesters to clear the main road,” he said.
He added that police personnel have been deployed at Maujpur area to prevent any untoward incident.
Taking to Twitter, Mishra said, “We have given a three-day ultimatum to the Delhi Police to get the road cleared. Get the Jafrabad and Chandbagh road cleared.”
In a video tweeted by him in which is addressing the gathering, Mishra said, “They (protestors) want to create trouble in Delhi, that’s why they have closed the roads. That’s why they have created a riot-like situation here. We have not pelted any stones.”
“Till the US president is in India, we are leaving the area peacefully. After that we won’t listen to you (police) if the roads are not vacated by then,” he told the gathering.
Aman Sharma (22), a student and resident of Maujpur who was part of the group accompanying Mishra, said they were holding a protest against the closure of roads by those opposing the CAA.
“At around 2:30 pm, they (anti-CAA protestors) started pelting stones and glass bottles,” he claimed.
Shaan (28), a resident of Kabir Nagar, said the situation escalated after BJP leader Kapil Mishra tweeted that he would hit the streets.
“It was then that the stone-pelting began from their side. The other side also responded and the situation flared up,” he said.
Shadab (28), a student held Mishra responsible for situation, saying the protest at Jaffrabad was peaceful.
Anti-CAA protestors also sought action against the Mishra. “The situation flared up only after his protest and provocative slogans,” said Mohammad Sadiq (19), a student.
The police too did not take any action against Mishra, Sadiq, said Babu Khan (40), who was part of the group that was protesting outside the Babarpur station.
Nitish (27) said the blocking of the road will create further trouble for residents of Maujpur and Welcome areas.
A software engineer at a firm in Okhla, Nitish said it takes two hours for him to reach his office due to closure of the road at Shaheen Bagh. “We don’t want this road to be closed,” he said.
Anjali Verma, who was protesting to get the road opened, said people have started feeling insecure now.
Another protestor, Dinesh Kumar (38), said the road was being closed at nearly five places on road no 66.
Owing to security reasons, the entry and exit gates of the Maujpur-Babarpur metro station have been closed. “Entry & exit gates of Maujpur-Babarpur are closed,” DMRC said in a tweet.
Similarly, a group of anti-CAA protestors who have been on a sit-in at Gandhi park in south Delhi’s Hauz Rani since last one month, took out a march towards the main road.
Later, the protestors also asked the shopkeepers in the area to close down their shop and sat at one corner of the road outside the park.
However, barricades were placed on the road to stop them from marching ahead. The protestors have now returned to the park, while others have left the venue.