POST Online Media Lite Edition


Authorities block internet in India's Uttar Pradesh over protests

Christian Fernsby |
Authorities in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on Friday beefed up security and blocked internet services in 21 districts in anticipation of protests over the controversial new citizenship law, officials said.

Article continues below


Last Friday, massive protests broke out across the state over the law. The protests took a violent turn following which protesters clashed with police that left 20 people dead, according to media report.

Authorities have deployed hundreds of policemen in the sensitive areas and blocked internet services in 21 districts of the state.

'We are taking precautionary measure to ensure no untoward incident happens," a senior government official in Lucknow said.

The local government has issued notices to 498 persons for attachment of properties for their alleged role in the violent protests in the state.

Officials said policemen carried out flag marches in sensitive areas and they have deployed drones equipped with cameras to keep an eye on the situation.

Authorities are tightlipped over the death toll in the state and have not updated their figures beyond 15. However, giving a break-up of the deaths, a local TV news channel NDTV 24 said the death toll in the state has risen to 20.

The police chief in the state has been maintaining his men have not fired a single bullet at protesters anywhere.

Reports said over 1000 people have been arrested and 5000 others taken into preventive detention.

With 20 deaths in Uttar Pradesh, the countrywide death toll against the controversial new citizenship law in India stands at 27.

Protests against the law triggered on December 11, the day India's upper house of parliament passed the law. Since then there has been no let-up in the protests. Peaceful protests are being held in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata and Guwahati, etc.

The police in the Indian capital said they were ready to deal with any situation.

"As a precautionary measure, police have deployed several companies of forces in some areas," Delhi police public relations officer, M S Randhawa told media. "Police is also monitoring social networking sites to check rumours."

Last week authorities in Delhi imposed prohibitory orders and suspended internet in wake of the protests.

The new citizenship law in India aims at granting citizenship to illegal immigrants belonging to six religions Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Parsi and Christianity from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, it has kept out Muslim immigrants from applying for citizenship.

Opposition parties and civil society members in India criticize the law as contrary to secular principles enshrined in India's constitution as it excludes Muslims.