The Uttar Pradesh capital witnessed unprecedented violence on Thursday (19 December) afternoon as protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) gained ground and the situation slowly spun out of control.
Protests against CAA began in old city areas in the afternoon and by evening, trouble spread to the city centre Hazratganj.
Police outposts in Madehganj and Thakurganj were set on fire, media persons were attacked and five OB Vans of channels were also set ablaze.
Vehicles of media persons and hawkers were also set on fire. A petrol pump near the UP Press Club was also vandalised. Two reporters were seriously injured in police baton charge.
Several policemen were also injured in the stone pelting, including Circle Officer, Hazratganj, Abhay Misra.
A huge turnout of common people was seen at Koneshwar crossing and Hussainganj which led to fracas with the cops.
Apart from the two police posts, the mob also set several police vehicles on fire. The police fired several rounds in the air and lobbed teargas shells to disperse the mob.
Clashes with the police were also reported from Hussainabad, Daliganj and Teele Wali Masjid and protestors at the Chhota Imambara pelted stones.
People started coming out from lanes leaving the police dumbfounded. What made it even more difficult for the police was the fact that women were leading protests from the front. The police force did not have female cops in ample measure.
Director General of Police O P Singh took to the streets to monitor the situation along with District Magistrate Abhishek Prakash and SSP Kalanidhi Naithani.
Even as the police focused on protests by Samajwadi Party workers, common people came out on large numbers in old city areas like Khadra and pelted stones at the police.
Police carried out a baton charge at the Parivartan Chowk where a large number of Congress workers were taken into custody.
A bus was also set on fire at Parivartan Chowk and the iconic Begum Hazrat Mahal Park was taken over by the protestors. The Metro station at the K D Singh Babu Stadium was shut down. Shops in Hazratganj were also closed as trouble spread.
This is the first time in recent years that Lucknow has witnessed violence of this scale. It clearly points to a major intelligence failure since the protests were well orchestrated and strategised.
Tension continues to prevail in the state capital.
(With inputs from IANS)
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