Internet cut in parts of Uttar Pradesh as cops brace for fresh anti-CAA protests
The Uttar Pradesh government has suspended Internet services in several districts of the state until tomorrow evening ahead of Friday prayers amid concerns of further protests against the amended citizenship law.
The places where services will be affected on Friday are: Agra, Mathura, Firozabad, Saharanpur, Bijnor, Bulandshahr and Ghaziabad. The other places where a shutdown is likely are Lucknow, Kanpur, Meerut, Rampur, Bareilly, Moradabad, Aligarh, Muzaffarnagar, Hapur and Azamgarh.
The state police authorities are on thier toes ahead of Friday prayers and have already issued an alert in 15 violence-hit districts and other sensitive areas for tomorrow. Widespread violence was witnessed in several districts after Friday prayers on December 20.
Inspector general (IG) of police, Law and Order, Praveen Kumar said the situation was normal across the state but the police were on alert and keeping a tight vigil to avert any further trouble.
He said the district police chiefs had been asked to communicate with Muslim clerics and other religious leaders as well as hold peace committee meetings with local group leaders and influential people.
He said additional force was being deployed in some districts to ensure Friday passed off peacefully.
In the state capital, additional director general (ADG), Lucknow zone, SN Sabat along with IG, Lucknow range, SK Bhagat, and senior superintendent of police (SSP), Kalanidhi Naithani were present in the peace committee meeting held in the Chowk area that has a dense Muslim population
Similar peace committee meetings were held in Gomti Nagar and other localities across the city.
“We interacted with people, mainly Muslims, to explain that CAA is not meant to nullify anyone’s citizenship but it is to allow citizenship to minorities from neighbouring countries namely Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh,” circle officer of Gomti Nagar Santosh Kumar Singh said. He said pamphlets containing seven points about the CAA were also distributed among people.
An appeal was made to the people not to believe any rumours and coordinate with police to ensure peace and maintain law and order, he added.
In Firozabad, ADG, Agra zone, Ajay Anand, commissioner, Agra division, Anil Kumar and IG Agra range, A Satish Ganesh held a peace committee meeting.
“All required measures are being taken to maintain peace and harmony in Firozabad and other adjoining districts on Friday. Internet services are suspended since Thursday morning and this will continue till Friday evening to check spread of rumours. Besides, police and paramilitary forces staged a flag march in the sensitive areas,” said Ganesh.
The state police authorities have, so far, confirmed 19 deaths in the violence that erupted during anti-CAA protests since December 19.
The deaths include four in Meerut, four in Kanpur, three in Firozabad, two each in Bijnor, Sambhal and Muzaffarnagar and one each in Rampur and Lucknow. They also said that none of the deaths were due to police firing. Besides, an eight-year-old boy had died in a stampede during protests in Varanasi on December 20.