New Delhi: As protests against the amended Citizenship Act, 2019, gained strength, violent incidents were reported from several parts of the country. While students clashed with police in New Delhi, snap demonstrations took place at various places in West Bengal.
Tensions in Assam led to the cancellation of the India-Japan summit scheduled in Guwahati. Japanese PM Shinzo Abe was scheduled to visit the city on Sunday for a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Army and the security forces conducted flag marches in Guwahati town which was the epicentre of the protests in Assam, besides Dibrugarh and Tezpur.
The Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi turned into a battlefield on Friday after police and students, who wanted to march to Parliament House to protest against the Citizenship Act, clashed with each other prompting AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan to reach the spot to take stock of the situation.
Fifty students were detained following a clash between police and students after the protestors were stopped at the varsity gate and prevented from carrying out their march.
The students, who were baton-charged by police personnel, alleged that the police also used tear gas to quell their march. The students also resorted to stone-pelting. However, the protestors alleged that police resorted to stone-pelting first and students threw stones in response to the attack.
Videos circulated by students on social media showed police caning the protestors.
The police had cordoned off the road and protestors were seen climbing onto barricades. The University's gate was later closed.
"We were marching peacefully and police stopped us from marching. First, they lathi-charged us asking us to move backwards. Then they pelted stones in response to which students picked up stones too," Onaihza, a law student at Jamia, said.
Police, however, denied the allegations.
As a precautionary measure, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) closed the entry and exit points at Patel Chowk and Janpath metro stations following Delhi police's advisory.
Violence spreads to Bengal
Protests reached the shores of West Bengal on Friday, with agitators resorting to violence and arson at railway stations and thoroughfares across the state, seeking immediate revocation of the law.
According to police sources, people in the minority-dominated districts of rural Howrah, Murshidabad, Birbhum, parts of Burdwan and North Bengal hit the streets in the morning, raising slogans against the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre.
Some of them even attacked local BJP workers and leaders, prompting the saffron camp to allege that the attacks were masterminded by the ruling TMC.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee appealed to people to maintain peace and calm and urged the protesters to refrain from taking law into own hands.
Similar pleas were also made by Governor Jagdeep Dhakhar, who requested people not to violate law and order.
In Murshidabad district, bordering Bangladesh, protesters set fire to Beldanga railway station complex and thrashed RPF personnel deputed there.
In Raghunathganj area of the district, the agitators set vehicles on fire and tore copies of the amended Act. They blocked National Highway-34 and ransacked vehicles and nearby shops.
Similar incidents were also reported from Uluberia and Diamond Harbour, both minority-dominated areas, as agitators blocked railway tracks and vandalised stations, leaving several passengers stranded during the day.
The affected trains included the 12841 Howrah-Chennai Coromandel Express, 22897 Howrah-Digha Kandari Express and suburban locals.
Internet suspended in Meghalaya
The Meghalaya government had on Thursday withdrew mobile Internet and messaging services across the state for the next 48 hours due to deteriorating law and order situation triggered by protest.
The services have been withdrawn since 5pm Thursday.
The district administration in the state capital has also clamped curfew in areas under two police stations in view of the "serious" deterioration of law and order.