India saw a generally peaceful day as protests against the amended Citizenship Act continued on Friday. Uttar Pradesh, which has seen large scale violence during protests after Friday prayers last week, remained largely calm amid tight security arrangements. In Delhi, police detained at least 350 protesters outside the UP Bhawan as they tried to stage protest against alleged police brutalities. Hundreds of protesters, many of whom gathered after offering Friday prayers at the Old Delhi's iconic Jama Masjid, took out peaceful demonstrations.
Meanwhile, Mumbai on Friday saw rallies in support of and against the CAA and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
In Kolkata, where chief minister Mamata Baneerjee has been at the forefront of protests against the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the new citizenship law, the opposition Left Front and the Congress took out a joint rally to oppose the CAA.
With last Friday's memories still fresh in the minds of the security personnel and the local administration when the anti-CAA protests turned violent after Friday prayers in Uttar Pradesh as well as in the national capital, security was enhanced and patrolling intensified in sensitive areas across UP to ensure peace during the prayers.
Internet Services Restored In Lucknow, Meerut
Mobile Internet services have been restored in Lucknow and Meerut on Friday. SMS messages and mobile Internet services of all mobile service providers except BSNL remained suspended in Lucknow on December 27. In Bulandshahar, the services will remain suspended till 6:00 am on December 28.
In Agra, Internet Services will remain suspended till 6:00 pm today while in Mathura, Sitapur, Muzaffarnagar, Firozabad and Sambhal, it will remain suspended till further orders. The services will also remain suspended in Bijnor till the night of December 28.
People March Towards PM's Residence
Flag marches were conducted in some areas of Delhi's Northeast district and heavy police force was deployed in parts of the city.
Apart from the Jama Masjid, a protest was also held in Jor Bagh while the planned 'gherao' of UP Bhawan by the Jamia Millia Islamia students was foiled by the Delhi Police as protesters were detained as soon as they reached the venue.
Hundreds of people with their hands tied marched towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi's residence to demand the release of Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Aazad and to protest against the new law, but were stopped on the way by police.
Aazad was arrested for allegedly instigating protesters to indulge in violence in old Delhi's Daryaganj area last Friday.
Amid heavy security arrangement and drone surveillance, the protesters including Bhim Army members started from Dargah Shah-e-Mardan in Jor Bagh in the national capital and were stopped by police at a barricade en route the PM's residence at Lok Kalyan Marg.
They participated in the march with their hands tied, saying they did it so that they could not be blamed for violence and arson during the protest.
Slogans like 'Tanashahi nahi chalegi', 'CAA murdabad', 'Aazad ko Azad karo' resonated through the day at several protests in Delhi.
Congress leader Alka Lamba and former Delhi MLA Shoaib Iqbal were among those who joined the demonstrations.
Pro and Anti CAA Marches In Mumbai
In Mumbai, students and social activists held a protest against the CAA and the NRC at the Azad Maidan, while a large number of people gathered for a pro-CAA rally at the historic August Kranti Maidan, where a massive anti-CAA demonstration was held last week.
At Azad Maidan, protesters shouted slogans against the government with one of the protesters alleging that the act was aimed "not against just one community but against the whole country."
At August Kranti Maidan rally, organised by BJP's Sanvidan Sanman Manch', supporters of CAA were seen carrying national flags along with placards with pro-CAA and NRC messages.
They were also carrying photographs of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar while pictures of V D Savarkar, Mahatama Jyotiba Fule, Bharatmata and Shahu Maharaj were displayed on stage.
Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Fadnavis said the new law does not take away the citizenship of any Indian.
The BJP is creating awareness among people that the act intends to help the minorities from neighbouring countries who have faced religious persecution, he said, and accused the opposition of misleading Indian Muslims.
"Pakistan did not fulfill the (implicit) assurance during Partition that minorities will be protected (in both the countries). Hence, India has to look after them because they are our people," said the former chief minister.
The Sanvidan Sanman Manch' has been organising such rallies in various parts of the city. One such rally in support of CAA and NRC was organised at Dadar last week.
The organisers had planned a support march between the August Kranti Maidan to Lokmanya Tilak statue at Girgaum Chowpatty but Mumbai police denied them permission for the march citing law and order issues.
Congress-Left Joint Rally In Kolkata
The joint rally in Kolkata was led by West Bengal Congress president Somen Mitra and senior Left Front leaders. Carrying posters and placards against the BJP-led Union government, Congress and LF members shouted slogans against bringing in the 'divisive' CAA.
The issue of CAA has been a major flashpoint in Bengal politics with Chief Minister Banerjee declaring that it will not be implemented in the state.
The state has witnessed violent protests and arson earlier this month.
Khadims Of Ajmer Dargah March Against CAA
In Ajmer, a large number of Muslims, including khadims of the famous Ajmer dargah, took out a protest march against the amended act, demanding its rollback.
The march started from the dargah and concluded at the collectorate, after passing through the crowded dargah bazaar.
"The Centre should repeal the act, which is an attack on the Preamble of the Constitution. The government should also say that the NRC will not be implemented (countrywide)," Sarwar Chisty, a khadim of the dargah, said.
(With PTI Inputs)