The Home Department of Karnataka on Thursday night suspended mobile internet services in Dakshina Kannada district, including Mangaluru city commissionerate, for 48 hours, in the wake of violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, The News Minute reported. Additional Chief Secretary to the Home Department Rajneesh Goel said that internet services were being banned on Friday and Saturday due to the “possibility of fake news spreading” in Mangaluru.
“Reports on the ground suggested arson and vandalism that could lead to a serious law and order situation,” the Home Department’s notification read. “Social media platforms can be used to spread rumours and pictures, videos and text have potential of inflaming passions.”
At least two people had died in violent clashes with the police in Mangaluru on Thursday evening. Over 6,000 people gathered in various parts of Mangaluru to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act. However, the police dispersed most of the protestors using tear gas.
Meanwhile, CCTV footage allegedly from the Highland Hospital in Mangaluru on Thursday evening showed the Karnataka Police using violence against the people. One video showed two police personnel rushing through a corridor and trying to open a door in a ward by kicking it down. When they failed to do so, more police personnel tried to break down the door by using batons and shields.
In another video, the police could be seen charging at people in the hospital’s lobby. Some people were seen wearing masks, covering their faces and running into the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital. According to The News Minute, hospital sources claimed the police threw tear gas shells inside the medical facility.
Minister in charge of Dakshina Kannada Kota Srinivasa Poojary, MLAs D Vedavyas Kamath and UT Khader on Thursday appealed to people in the state to maintain peace, The Hindu reported. Mangaluru Qazi Twaka Ahmed Musliyar also asked people to be calm.
Poojary said that people should not pay heed to rumours, and should not take the law into their own hands. Kamath said that Mangaluru was calm since the past one-and-a-half years. “Let there be no unrest again,” he added. Both Poojary and Kamath are BJP leaders.
On the other hand, Khader, who is a Congress MLA, condemned the police action against protestors in Mangaluru. He said the police resorted to violence despite Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa’s instructions forbidding it. Khader said that the government should give compensation to the kin of the two people who died in the violence. The injured should also be given compensation, he added.
Yediyurappa asks people to stay away from ‘vested interests’
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Yediyurappa on Friday morning appealed to people to stay away from “vested interests” indulging in rumour mongering, PTI reported. “In view of the protests in certain parts of the state against the enactment of Citizenship Amendment Act, I make this humble appeal to every citizen of Karnataka to stay away from vested interests indulging in rumor mongering and stoking the passions to disturb peace and harmony in the state,” Yediyurappa said.
The chief minister claimed the Act will not affect the rights of any Indian citizen of any religion in any manner. He also assured that the Karnataka government is committed to protecting the rights of every citizen irrespective of caste, creed, community, religion or race.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, passed by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to persecuted minorities of six religions – excluding Islam – from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. It has been decried as anti-Muslim, and protestors from North Eastern states have alleged that the Act will erode their ethnic identities. There were massive protests throughout the country against the Act on Thursday.