At least seven people were killed in Uttar Pradesh as the protests against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) turned violent in many parts of the State on Friday.
In the national capital, a day of largely peaceful protests suddenly turned violent after a private car was set on fire in Daryaganj in the evening, leading to a lathi-charge and use of water cannons by the police.
As protests against the CAA and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) continued across the country, the Home Ministry said there would be no discrimination against Muslims and undocumented people as feared. A spokesperson said any document relating to date of birth or place of birth or both would be sufficient to establish citizenship.
Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police O.P. Singh said the police did not fire at protesters, while PTI quoted unnamed State officials as saying that protesters had fired at the police at various places.
Two people were killed in Bijnor and one each in Meerut, Sambhal, Firozabad and Kanpur, according to PTI. There were unconfirmed reports of a death in Muzaffarnagar during a clash between the police and protesters. However, SSP Abhishek Yadav denied it. Police tried to disperse crowds with teargas shells followed by rubber bullets. Mr. Singh said over 50 policemen were seriously injured.
The Hindu’s western U.P. correspondent Omar Rashid was detained in Lucknow for over three hours, despite identifying himself, and released on the intervention of the Chief Minister’s Office.
Internet back in Assam
Mobile telephony and data services were restricted in many parts of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Delhi and the Delhi Metro closed 17 stations. In Assam, Internet was restored after 10 days following a High Court order.
In Bijnor’s Nehtaur area, Anas, 22, and Sulaiman, 26, died, allegedly due to bullet injuries. Risalat Hussain, the uncle of Anas, who worked as a juice maker in weddings, said his nephew had gone out to buy tea when he was hit by a bullet. “There was a protest going on after the Friday prayers and perhaps he was caught in between,” Mr. Hussain told The Hindu over phone.
The death toll could be higher. In Meerut, three men, Arif, 25, Zaheer, 40, and Moshin, 25, were killed.
Chief Medical Officer, Meerut College, Dr. Dheeraj Raj confirmed to The Hindu that three men were brought dead to the hospital.
“One man named Noor-e-Alam, who was allegedly hit during protests in Muzaffarnagar died during treatment. Nine persons, including four policemen, are undergoing treatment for gunshot injuries at the hospital,” he said.
Across Delhi, several protests were underway at locations including Jama Masjid, Seelampur, Seemapuri, Connaught Place and India Gate.
Marchers in many parts of the country waved the national flag, and carried banners that said ‘Save Constitution’. Sporadic violence was reported from Maharashtra, the Karnataka-Kerala border and Gujarat. In the wake of violent protests against CAA and NRC in parts of Gujarat, the State government on Friday authorised Additional DGP (Intelligence) to suspend mobile Internet services in case of any exigency from December 20 to 22. There was one incident of stone throwing on policemen in Vadodara during protests.
(With PTI inputs)