New Delhi, December 17
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi is leading an opposition delegation that is meeting President Ram Nath Kovind regarding the Centre’s new citizenship bill and the widespread protests in its aftermath. The visit comes amid fresh protests at east Delhi’s Seelampur where the crowd clashed with the police.
The police used batons and tear gas to control the crowd, which stones at them and at passing buses. A peaceful protest is also in progress at Delhi’s Jamia Milia Islamia, being held by the students.
On Monday, a protest march by the Jamia students had gone out of hand and ended in violence. Stones were thrown at the police when they tried to stop the march, buses and two-wheelers were burnt. The subsequent police action at the university – barging in without permission and detaining students — had triggered protests in campuses across the country.
In the evening, the opposition had demanded a judicial inquiry into the police action. The Congress had claimed that the Delhi Police was working under the orders of the BJP, pointing out that in Union Territories, the force is under the Centre’s control.
The parties that met the media — the Congress, the CPI, the CPM, Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal and Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party – had also said that they would meet the President today.
Three Chief Ministers — Bangal’s Mamata Banerjee, Kerala’s Pinarayi Vijayan and Punjab’s Amarinder Singh — have declared that they would not allow the implementation of the citizenship law and the national registry of citizens in their states.