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Internet Suspended in Several Districts of UP, Security Beefed Up Ahead of Possible Anti-CAA Protests

To avoid a repeat of last Friday's violence in Gorakhpur, the police staged a flag march in sensitive areas and held a meeting with peace committees in all circle and police station areas.


Updated:December 27, 2019, 7:14 AM IST
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Internet Suspended in Several Districts of UP, Security Beefed Up Ahead of Possible Anti-CAA Protests
A policeman aims his gun at protesters during a rally against NRC and Citizenship Amendment Act in old Lucknow on December 19. (File photo: PTI)

Lucknow: Internet services will remain suspended in several Uttar Pradesh districts, including Agra, Ghaziabad and Bulandshahr, "in anticipation of violent protests" against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) after Friday prayers at mosques.

The districts where internet services were blacked out are Agra, Aligarh, Bijnor, Bulandshahr, Firozabad, Ghaziabad, Muzaffarnagar, Kanpur, Sambhal and Shamli.

Security has been beefed up and patrolling intensified across the state to ensure peace ahead of the Friday prayers, keeping in mind the widespread violence that hit last week during protests against the law.

To avoid a repeat of last Friday's violence in Gorakhpur, the police staged a flag march in sensitive areas and held a meeting with peace committees in all circle and police station areas. Paramilitary force personnel and state police force will be deployed and drone cameras used to ensure security on Friday, said District Magistrate Vijyendra Pandiyan.

An order issued by the Agra District Administration said that mobile internet and broadband services will remain suspended from 8am on Thursday till 6pm on Friday. In Bulandshahr district, the clampdown will be effective from 5pm on Thursday till December 28.

Mobile internet and broadband services will remain suspended in Ghaziabad for 24 hours, starting from 10pm on Thursday. District Magistrate Ajay Shankar Pandey said all mobile companies have been told to suspend their services and the step has been taken to prevent hate-mongering on social media in view of violence in the state after the passage of the new citizenship law in Parliament.

Additional Director General (Law and Order) PV Ramasastry said internet services have been suspended in several districts for a day. "We have deployed security personnel in different districts of the state and held talks with people," he said. "We are also monitoring content on social media."

More Notices Issued to Individuals

The process to confiscate the property of those involved in damaging public assets during the anti-CAA protests gained momentum with 372 persons being served notices in different districts.

A home department spokesperson on Thursday put the death toll at 19 in the violence, which left 288 policemen injured, including 61 who received firearm injuries. The spokesperson said 327 FIRs have been registered and 5,558 preventive arrests made so far.

Official sources said more district administrations issued notices to people to make them pay for the losses caused by them in arson and stone-pelting.

The Rampur district administration on Tuesday had issued notices to at least 28 people in a bid to recover the damage to government property during protests. The move came days after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had warned those who were involved in violence during demonstrations of "revenge" for the losses including damage of police motorcycles, barriers and sticks.

The maximum of 200 notices were issued in Moradabad, followed by 110 in Lucknow, 34 in Gorakhpur, and 29 in Firozabad, an official spokesperson in Lucknow said. Across the state, a total of 1,113 persons have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the violence.

A report from Sambhal said the district administration has issued notices to 26 people for their alleged involvement in damaging properties during protests against the amended citizenship law, asking them to explain their position or pay for the losses.

Sambhal Superintendent of Police Yamuna Prasad said posters of 150 people have been released and 55 have been identified for their involvement in the protests.

A preliminary probe in the anti-CAA violence in Kanpur has suggested the role of Bangladeshis and Kashmiris, police said on Thursday. "The police investigation has revealed that violence during the protests against CAA on two consecutive days on Friday and Saturday in Kanpur happened in an organised manner," said Kanpur Senior Superintendent of Police Anand Deo Tiwari.

"Preliminary probe suggested the involvement of people, including Bangladeshis and Kashmiris," he said, adding there was "ample evidence" to strongly indicate their involvement.

At least 1,200 unidentified persons, including students, teachers and non-teaching staff of the Aligarh Muslim University, have also been booked for allegedly violating prohibitory orders under CrPC section 144 by taking out a candle-light march on Tuesday. The march was taken out as a mark of protest against the CAA and to express solidarity with those who lost their lives during the stir against the contentious law.

Alleging that the BJP government was "afraid" of Hindu-Muslim unity, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav sought to know when a probe into "police brutality" on protesters in the state will be ordered.

"The government is afraid of Hindu-Muslim unity. It is making allegations that people are criminals. It wants to confiscate property of the poor. It is commenting on people's dress...Threatening to take revenge from citizens," he said.

"But the government should tell (people) when will it initiate probe into police brutality," Yadav said in a tweet in Hindi.

Meanwhile, a state minister on a visit to Bijnor refused to meet the families of the two Muslim men who died in the protests, terming them "upadravi" (vandals).

"Why should I go to the vandals' place? How can those who are involved in vandalism and put the entire country and state in arson be social?" asked minister Kapil Dev Agarwal, defending his decision to not visit the homes of the two Muslim families.

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday had met the families of those who had died in the violence in Bijnor.

(With inputs from agencies)

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