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Chennai: Anti-CAA protesters clash with police in Washermanpet; 4 cops injured

Four police personnel were injured on Friday after an anti-CAA protest by Muslims turned violent in Chennai, leading to a clash between the demonstrators and the cops. The protests were being held in the Washermanpet area of Chennai against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Violence broke out when the demonstrators, who had gathered in large numbers, attempted to breach the police barricades. The cops then resorted to lathicharge to disperse the protesters. Following this, Chennai Police detained over 100 protesters.

The incident led to sporadic protests across Tamil Nadu by members of Islamic outfits who condemned the police action at Washermanpet, where the violence broke out, and demanded that the detainees be released. The protesters subsequently called off the agitation, following talks with City Police Commissioner AK Viswanathan.

Four police personnel — a woman joint commissioner, two women constables and a sub-inspector — were injured in stonepelting, the police said, even as reports emerged that some protesters were also hurt.

Joint Commissioner P Vijayakumari sustained injuries on her head, the police said, adding that the injured were admitted to a hospital.

Earlier, some protesters were reportedly removed from the protest site forcibly, leading to a commotion between them and the police.

The protesters accused the police of resorting to a lathicharge.

Some of the protesters were detained. Subsequently, more people gathered there demanding their release. As a result, security was beefed up in the area.

Viswanathan held discussions with community elders and representatives of Muslim organisations, following which all those detained were released, the police said.

“An amicable decision was arrived at in the meeting with Muslim organisations and they have announced that the agitation will be withdrawn,” a police officer said, adding that normalcy had returned to the area.

The Citizenship Amendment Act promises citizenship to members of 6 non-Muslim communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who entered India before December 31, 2014. Massive protests have erupted across the country against the new law. 

Massive protests have erupted across the country against the new citizenship law. Critics say that the new law is against the secular nature of the Indian Constitution and clubbed with the NRC may be misused to strip away some Muslims’ citizenship in the country. The BJP, however, has argued that the law has nothing to do with India’s Muslims and only helps those who fled religious persecution in the neighbouring countries.

(With PTI inputs)