Police resorted to a lathi-charge and used water cannons to disperse a crowd that turned violent in Delhi’s Daryaganj on Friday, just minutes after a two-and-a-half-hour long peaceful agitation against the amended citizenship law got over.
The police action, which followed stone-pelting and arson, forced several people to flee, including many of those who had joined protests that started in the afternoon and went on till evening , can be proved by hundreds of abandoned shoes scattered on the road between Delhi Gate and Brij Mohan Chowk.
At least 46 people were injured in stone-pelting and police action.
According to eye-witnesses, thousands of people gathered on Friday afternoon on Netaji Subhash Marg, where police had put up barricades near Delhi Gate.
Some of them were in the region for Friday payers, considered by Muslims to be the holiest of the week, at the Jama Masjid, some other locals living in the neighbourhood and some others who joined the protests just as they had on Thursday in various locations across central Delhi.
At about 5pm, as the protesters started to disperse, thousands more people turned up, according to the police from parts of north-east Delhi. This group, that soon got increased in number to about 15,000 as per police estimates, started to break the cordon of barricades.
Police spokesperson MS Randhawa said the security personnel first launched water cannons to disperse the crowd, and then charged with lathis as the agitators torched a private vehicle and started pelted stones.
The city has been on edge since last Sunday. Eighteen Metro stations were blocked on Friday, after 20 the previous day, when prohibitory orders under Section 144 were imposed in several parts and mobile services were shut down in Delhi for the first time.