UP Police snatch food, blankets of anti-CAA protesters at Lucknow’s Clock Tower

Cracking down on 24 hour protests Uttar Pradesh police officials snatched the blankets, utensils and food items of residents demonstrating against the amended Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) near the Clock Tower in Lucknow’s old quarters.

The protests planned on the lines of Delhi’ Shaheen Bagh, at least 50 women along with their children squatted near Ghanta Ghar to protest the amended citizenship law and the planned National Register of Citizens (NRC).

In visuals captured on mobile phones, policemen can be seen taking away blankets and boxes of what appeared to be food packets from the protest site on Saturday evening amid chaos. The cops were also seen taking away sheets meant to be spread on the ground for those who wanted to spend the night there.

A mobile phone video shot on Saturday showed a woman protester running after some cops as she yells at them and asks: “Why are you taking the blankets?” A Sikh man who went there with food for the women and children said: “Some of the cops tried to stop us but others let us pass. This is basic humanity and so we are here.”

The Lucknow Police gave a clarification today in a statement. “At the clock tower in Lucknow, during an illegal protest, some people tried to pitch a tent and they were denied permission. Some groups were distributing blankets in the park and many people, who were not a even part of the protest, came to take the blankets. We had to disperse the crowd there. The blankets were seized after due process. Please don’t spread rumours,” the statement read.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA, which cleared the parliament last month, makes religion the test of citizenship in India for the first time. While the government claims that it will help minorities from three Muslim-dominated countries – Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan – to get citizenship if they fled to India because of religious persecution before 2015, critics say it is designed to discriminate against Muslims and violates the secular principles of the constitution.