A petrol bomb was thrown this morning near a police barricade at Delhi's Shaheen Bagh, the heart of protests against Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA. A biker was later seen throwing a crude bomb near Jamia University, about five km away from the protest site.
"A petrol bomb was thrown on barricades away from the (Shaheen Bagh) protesters, we have recovered some bottles used in the case and are investigating it," senior police officer Kumar Gyanesh was quoted as saying by news agency IANS. The incident took place at around 9:30 am.
"Two people were seen on a bike near the barricades, we are checking the CCTV footages for detailed investigation," he added.
The sit-in protest at Shaheen Bagh, mostly by women, has been on for more than 90 days. The protest, which inspired similar demonstrations across the country, has made international headlines. They have been protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act, National Register of Citizen (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR), which they call "anti-Muslim" .
On Saturday, as some of these protesters held a meeting with the police, differences emerged with one group favouring continuing the agitation and some saying it should be called off.
The crude bomb attack took place as millions across India observed a "Janata Cufew" call by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to promote social distancing and self-isolation amid the rising number of coronavirus cases.
At Shaheen Bagh, the organizers have said the agitation will continue, stating that the protesters are being provided masks and hand sanitisers and there is no need to panic, reported news agency Press Trust of India. The size of the gathering, however, has been significantly reduced.
"If PM Modi wants us to be safe from coronavirus, then he should have withdrawn CAA, NPR and NRC. We will hold our protest tomorrow too," Salima, one of the protesters at Shaheen Bagh, told news agency ANI on Saturday.
Earlier this week, the Delhi government banned gatherings of more than 50 people amid COVID-19 scare. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said: "No religious, social, cultural and political gatherings comprising more than 50 people will be allowed in Delhi till March 31. The restriction is applicable to protests too."