The Delhi Police on Tuesday morning cleared the protest site at Delhi Shaheen Bagh, where the demonstration against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) had been on for over a 100 days. The demonstration, near Kalindi Kunj, against India's newly amended citizneship law, blocked one of the main roads connecting the national capital with Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (southeast) R P Meena said people at the protest venue in Shaheen Bagh were requested to vacate the site as lockdown had been imposed due to coronavirus outbreak. However, following their refusal, the action was taken and they were vacated, the official said.
The Delhi Police also said, "All protest sites have been cleared -- Jaffrabad, Jamia and Turkman Gate. Some persons detained in all these places as well."
Sources in Delhi Police said, "A team of senior police officers reached the site at 6.45 a.m. First, they tried to pacify the protesters. At that time around a dozen persons were present. Usually, very few women protesters remain there during the mornings. And because of the lockdown, their number already was very less."
The police arrived with trucks and JCB machines and dismantled all the structures and seized the tents.
The eviction comes two days after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced the national capital was going into a complete lockdown to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has already claimed over 13,000 lives worldwide and is keeping the Indian establishment and health professionals on their toes.
Delhi: Delhi Police clears the protest site in Shaheen Bagh area, amid complete lockdown in the national capital, in wake of #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/4IYvGCqyFL— ANI (@ANI) March 24, 2020
On Monday, too, the number of protestors, reduced significantly, a day after the country observed the 'Janata Curfew' as requested by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Meanwhile, heavy security has been deployed in several areas of the national capital, including Jafrabad and Shaheen Bagh, following a complete lockdown in a bid to tackle COVID-19 outbreak.
On March 22, unidentified men hurled "inflammable substance" near the protest site in Shaheen Bagh but none of the five women protesters present there were injured, police said.
However, the protestors alleged that the attackers came on motorcycles and hurled petrol bombs.
The incident happened around 9.15 am when entire Delhi was observing a 'Janta curfew' with people staying indoors in a bid to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Police found a banner, rugs, burnt bamboo and a few broken bottles. Some bottles were also found in a lane near the protest site, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Southeast) RP Meena.
Initial investigation revealed that a person set a banner on fire after "putting inflammable substance using a lighter," Meena said, adding a case has been registered at Shaheen Bagh police station.
(With inputs from agencies)