As the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act draw momentum once again, the Uttar Pradesh police thought of an unusual crackdown on the protesters at the iconic Clock Tower at the state capital Lucknow by reportedly taking away their blankets, food items and utensils. “Kambal Chor UP Police (Blanket thief, UP police)” started trending on Twitter after this action by the UP police.

Around 50 women started an anti-CAA sit-in protest on Friday; they were later joined by hundreds of women and children on Saturday. Police deployed huge force at the site. The Rapid Action Force too staged march around the protest sight. Demonstrators posted videos showing policemen carrying away the supplies with them on Saturday amid chaos and objection by the protesters.

Irritated by this act of police, twitterati posted videos and photos of the incident on Saturday making social media abuzz with ‘#KAMBALCHOR_UPPOLICE’ trending on Twitter.

The Hindu quoted additional DCP Vikas Chandra Tripathi as saying,  “legal action” would be taken against the protesters for violation of Section 144, which restricts assembly of more than four people. The protest is “illegal,” he  adding there was no question of providing permission to the protesters to hold their sit-in.

According to DCP Tripathi some outfits were distributing the blankets in the  “illegal” dharna and lots of people are coming to collect those blankets, they are not the protesters. He asked people not to indulge in rumour mongering.

“Kambalo ko vidhik tarike se kabze mein liya gaya (The blankets were seized as per the legal process),” The Hindu quoted police as saying.

Lucknow’s Clock Tower has become aanti-CAA protest site replicating Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, near Jamia Millia Islamia. It  has become a prominent protest venue for people opposed to the CAA and the NRC since December 15.

Uttar Pradesh witnessed some of the worst protest-related violence, where media persons were attacked and OB vans were razed in Lucknow in December. Similar acts of violence and arson were reported from places such as Sambhal in the state.

Even as prohibitory orders are in place across the state, many incidents of violence were reported Muzaffarnagar, Bahraich, Bulandshahr, Gorakhpur, Firozabad, Aligarh, Meerut, Kanpur and Farukhhabad as thousands took to the streets to protest against the CAA. Section 144 — that prohibits assembly of more than 4 people in an area – was imposed in the state.

As per the reports, at least 3,000 people across UP were arrested in connection with the protests.

Protests against CAA that were earlier confined to the northeast, had swept the country last month in December after several protesters, including students clashed with the police in Delhi’s Jamia Milia Islamia on December 15, 2019 and later at JNU and AMU.

The CAA seeks to provide citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have faced religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan and have arrived in India on or before December 31, 2014.