In a dramatic sequence of events, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad was on Friday detained from outside Jama Masjid, where thousands of people gathered to protest against the amended Citizenship Act, but managed to give the police the slip.
Azad, whose Bhim Army had given the call for a protest march from Jama Masjid to Jantar Mantar, managed to escape under the nose of the police amid resistance from the crowd. Chandrashekhar Azad ran from house to house and jumped over terraces to avoid getting caught.
Earlier in the day, thousands of people held a massive protest near the Jama Masjid, shouting slogans like ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ against the Citizenship law and raising banners reading ‘save Constitution’, amidst heavy deployment of police and paramilitary forces. Some protesters were also carrying posters of Baba Saheb Ambedkar, Kanshi Ram and Bhagat Singh.
As the numbers swelled in the afternoon, protesters assembled near Jama Masjid’s Gate number 1, with Delhi Police using drone surveillance to keep a check on any untoward incidents.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) closed at least four metro stations — Chawri Bazar, Lal Quila, Jama Masjid and Delhi Gate — in view of the protests.
Delhi Mahila Congress chief and former president Pranab Mukherjee’s daughter Sharmistha and some other members of the outfit were detained near Home Minister Amit Shah’s residence during a protest against the new law.
Opposition leaders D Raja, Sitaram Yechury, Nilotpal Basu, Brinda Karat, Ajay Maken, Sandeep Dikshit and activists Yogendra Yadav, Umar Khalid were among over 1,200 people detained from areas around Red Fort and Mandi House — the sites of the two planned demonstrations.