Published: 19th December 2019
Inside Delhi's CAA protests: Does the police become more brutal during internet shutdowns?
Two protests are scheduled in the national capital, one by students and activists and the other by left parties. The two marches were to meet at Shaheed Park near ITO
What is the use of the lightning-fast internet facility if you cant use it? The government ordered the suspension of internet services in several parts of the country, allegedly, to keep protests in control. Interestingly, this happened on the same week Delhi CM, Arvind Kejriwal, announced free WiFi access in the UT.
But why is internet so important during these protests?
Social activist and ex-JNU student Umar Khalid, who was also detained as they were about to start their march from the Red Fort said that co-ordinating even the place to meet becomes a hassle without the internet and cellular services. "In today's day and age, we need to have the cellular connection intact to keep in touch and tell people where to come and assemble. Without that, everyone is confused and the protest falls flat even before it starts. This is a planned way to dismantle the protests but we won't let that happen," said Umar.
Stories of the police unleashing hell on Jamia Millia Islamia students have flooded the web since Sunday night but what happens when there is no internet to post the videos. "The extent of police brutality obviously increases when there is no internet. People cannot get through to each other forget getting through to the rest of the world. The police are also under the order when they do these crackdowns," said Umar. "We have seen the proof this week itself — AMU suffered more police brutality than Jamia in some instances but people did not even get to know about it, Jamia students, on the other hand, could send out SOS messages and reach out to people," he added.
The activists, students and members of the civil society who had planned a march from Red Fort to ITO had informed the Delhi Police 48 hours in advance, they said. But the police officers asked them to change the venue at the last moment."Last night they asked us to start the march from Jantar Mantar. We told them everyone has been intimated about the location and we can't change it now. But if they wish to divert the march we won't have any problem. And all this after they had officially received our request well in advance," added the activist who was detained as soon as he reached the Red Fort along with other leaders of the march, essentially dampening the protests a bit. Two protests are scheduled in the national capital, one by students and activists and the other by left parties. The two marches were to meet at Shaheed Park near ITO.