India: Security clampdown citizenship protests under control

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Mobile internet services were on Friday suspended and security tightened in several areas of India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh, which has seen violent protests over a new citizenship law.

“The law and order are absolutely under control, we continue to have a strategic deployment of forces,’’ Uttar Pradesh Police chief OP Singh said in the state capital, Lucknow.

“Several police personnel has been deployed to sensitive areas of Delhi, and social networking sites are being monitored to check rumours,’’ Delhi police spokesman, M.S. Randhawa said.

Police were seen carrying out flag marches in north-east, an area with a large Muslim population, and which has witnessed a breakout of violence after Friday prayers, Delhi as a precautionary measure.

Uttar Pradesh also saw deadly clashes between protesters and police on Thursday and Friday.

At least 25 people have died so far in the nationwide protests over the most of the demonstrations outside of Uttar Pradesh have been peaceful.

The Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 gives Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Christian and Parsi immigrants from three neighbouring Muslim-majority countries a path towards fast-track citizenship.

Critics say it goes against India’s secular constitution and is aimed at marginalising Muslims, who comprise about 14 per cent of India’s population of 1.3 billion.

Fresh demonstrations were being held on Friday in several Indian cities including financial hub Mumbai, where two separate rallies were planned against and in support of the law.

A large number of people had gathered in Delhi to protest the law at the city’s main Jama Mosque, and at Jantar Mantar, a designated protest spot.

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