Death toll mounts in UP, so does tension
The death toll in the violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Uttar Pradesh has reportedly gone up to 16 though official sources only claimed that nine deaths had taken place.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday met Governor Anandiben Patel and apprised her of the situation in the state in the wake of protests against the CAA.
State Director General of Police O.P. Singh said that nine persons had died in cross firing though the police had not fired even a single bullet. "We used tear gas shells to disperse the mob," he stated.
One person was killed as fresh violence broke out in Rampur during protests against the CAA on Saturday.
Slogan-shouting protesters engaged in stone-pelting and arson and clashed with the police in the violence that continued for two hours, according to officials.
As the protesters began pelting stones at the police, the force responded with a baton charge and fired tear gas shells. One person was killed in the violence.
Additional Director General of Police Avinash Chandra reached the spot and is camping there to control the situation.
The violence erupted after the administration denied permission for a demonstration following a call for protest by Muslim clerics.
The clerics, however, appealed to people not to assemble and hold any protests. But by that time, people had gathered at Hathi Khana Chowk in Rampur and violence followed.
Violence was also reported from Kanpur on Saturday evening and 16 persons were injured. Protestors set the Yateemkhana police outpost on fire and paramilitary forces were called in to control the situation.
Stone pelting was continuing till the time of filing this report.
In Sitapur, the police indulged in heavy baton charge to disperse the large number of protestors who had come out on the streets. No casualty has been reported so far.
The Lucknow police, on Friday night, had picked up the state correspondent of a national daily who is a Muslim from Kashmir while he was outside the Vidhan Sabha building. He was detained at the Hazratganj police station where police used religious and regional slurs against him. He was also threatened to be booked under IPC Section 120 B (punishment for criminal conspiracy).
He was later taken to Sultanpur police station where police continued to interrogate him while he explained that he covering the protests. It was only after the intervention of the Chief Minister's Office that he was released.
Meanwhile, the government spokesman said that 705 persons had been arrested in CAA protests and 4,500 persons had been arrested and released on personal bonds. He said that 124 FIRs had been registered in connection with the violence.
A total of 263 police personnel had been injured in the violence and 57 policemen had received bullet injuries. More than 405 empty cartridges had been recovered from the violence-hit areas.
Four deaths were reported from Meerut district, while the boy lost his life in a stampede in Varanasi when a violent mob was being chased by police personnel. Two persons were killed in Bijnor and one each in Lucknow and Rampur.
Six people were killed on Friday as protesters clashed with the police at several places in the state. They hurled stones and torched vehicles, the officials said.
There have been reports of firing on police personnel deployed to maintain law and order.
Six policemen also received bullet injuries in various parts of the state and the condition of one policeman continues to be critical.
Tension mounted in Lucknow on Saturday when rumours spread that the district administration had started pasting notices of fines on houses of identified protesters.
In view of the prevailing tension, internet shutdown in Lucknow is now being extended to December 23.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had said on Thursday that those who damage state property will have to pay fines, failing which their properties will be attached.
Violence during the anti-CAA protests has so far claimed lives in Bijnor, Sambhal, Ferozabad, Kanpur, Varanasi and Meerut in the state.
Lucknow, Kanpur, Gorakhpur, Meerut and Sambhal were some of the areas that were worst-hit by the anti-CAA protests.
Mobile internet services remain suspended in Aligarh, Mau, Azamgarh, Lucknow, Kanpur, Bareilly, Shahjahanpur, Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr, Sambhal and Allahabad in view of the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Police were mainly targeted when they stopped people from taking out processions in defiance of prohibitory orders in places all over the state.
Dozens of vehicle belongings to police and media persons were set ablaze by protesters.IANS