Reports say hundreds of men and women sat in protest all night at Old Washermanpet in criticising the police crackdown on protesters.
The News Minute reported that protesters raised ‘azaadi’ slogans along the bylanes of Thiruvottiyur High Road, condemning police action against protesters earlier in the day and demanding a repeal of the discriminatory CAA.
Twitter user Gayatri Khandhadai shared a video of women chanting slogans.
Protests have reportedly spread across Tamil Nadu with people taking to the streets and blocking roads.
The Hindu reported that Chennai’s arterial roads like Anna Salai and Jawaharlal Nehru Salai in Vadapalani, and parts of the East Coast Road saw huge traffic snarls. The report said that people also gathered in Madurai, Coimbatore, Tiruppur, Salem, Tiruchi, Vaniyambadi, Tirupathur, Krishnagiri, Villupuram
What prompted these protests?
Locals in the Old Washermanpet area of Chennai had planned a protest after Friday prayers against the CAA, NRC and NPR. Reports say that police allegedly used full force to disperse the protests, leading to chaos and scuffle and further protests against police action.
Protesters are said to have been badly injured during police action.
“They resorted to lathi-charge three times between 2 pm and 5 pm. Some injured protesters were taken to Stanley Government Hospital and one was shifted to Rajiv Gandhi Government Hospital,” said Kasali, a protester, told TheNew Indian Express.
Reports say that hundreds of police personnel were present in the area that is mostly narrow lanes and by-lanes. When the protesters refused to budge, the police used full force to disperse them.
The Hindu quoted a protester as saying, “We did not even come to the main road and were protesting on the streets and in front of homes… They spoke to the protesters and asked them to disperse. As we did not heed to their suggestion, the police used force to chase us away.”
Videos from the incident show a huge mob of police personnel dragging, beating and even kicking a lone protester.
Huffpost India couldn’t independently verify the video.
Police reportedly used violence to detain protesters.
Sahiya, a protester told The News Minute, “When we refused to leave, they pulled us by the hair and dragged us from the road. When we questioned them, they carried us bodily with two people holding our feet up.”
While there were reports of a septuagenarian dying during police action, a senior police officer refuted the claims speaking to The New Indian Express, “The elderly man had been admitted to Stanley Government Hospital for two weeks. He was discharged on Thursday and suffered a cardiac arrest at his house in Old Washermenpet on Friday night. The protestors are spreading rumours.”
Sporadic protests spread across Chennai and across Tamil Nadu after the incident.
#ChennaiShaheenBagh trends on Twitter
Thousands took to social media to condemn police action at Old Washermanpet, using the hashtag #ChennaiShaheenBagh.
Do we really live in a democratic country?
Peaceful protesters at #ChennaiShaheenBagh being brutally attacked by the police.
Tamil Nadu awoke at midnight,
All over the state more than 30 districts have started midnight protest.
लड़ेंगे … जीतेंगे…pic.twitter.com/a9mcYKX8Dy
— Fahad Ahmad (@FahadTISS) February 15, 2020
Protest continues overnight allover Tamil Nadu with people demanding the release of protestors who have been detained by the Police in Chennai and also to take disciplinary action against the Police who engaged in violence at Washermanpet.
— 𝘿𝙆 | 𑀢𑀺𑀓𑀼 (@Its_DineshKumar) February 15, 2020