A man died in Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur town on Saturday during fresh clashes between police and anti-Citizenship Act protestors, taking the total number of deaths in the state to 16, the Hindustan Times reported.
The police alleged that protestors broke barricades and threw stones at them, leading to two hours of violence. “Five protestors were injured, one of them seriously, during the clash,” Rampur District Magistrate Aunjaneya Singh told PTI. “Around a dozen others suffered minor injuries due to tear gas shelling, while over a dozen policemen also got hurt during stone pelting.”
Singh claimed that the police did not resort to firing, and said the police suspect the involvement of outsiders during the protest.
“Women and children were used as shields by the protestors,” Director General of Police OP Singh claimed. “If anyone died due to our fire we will conduct a judicial inquiry and take action. But nothing happened from our side.”
Additional central para-military forces were sent to the town after the violence, PTI reported. The administration had denied permission for the demonstrations as a ban imposed on public gatherings under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was in place.
In Kanpur, protestors allegedly set the Yatimkhana police post on fire and resorted to stone-pelting. The police used tear gas shells to disperse the mob. Additional Director General of Police (Kanpur) Prem Prakash said the Rapid Action Force has been called to control the situation.
Samajwadi Party MLA Amitabh Bajpai and former MLA and SP leader Kamlesh Tewari were arrested as a precautionary measure. The police also seized their vehicles.
Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel appealed to people to maintain peace in the state and said the government will protect every citizen. “Such protests yield no result but destroy the public property and harm people,” she said in a statement.
Chief Minister Adityanath met Patel and apprised her of the situation across the state. “None indulging in violence will be spared,” the chief minister said in a tweet, adding that every citizen will be provided security.
Toll rises to 16
Five people were killed in Meerut, two each in Kanpur, Bijnore and Firozabad and one each in Muzaffarnagar, Sambhal and Varanasi in Friday’s clashes between police and protestors over the amended citizenship law. An eight-year-old boy was killed in Varanasi after baton-charge by police led to a stampede.
One person who died on Thursday, Mohammad Wakeel, had gone out to buy groceries in Lucknow when he was shot.
Samajwadi Party’s Rajya Sabha MP, Javed Ali Khan, who belongs to Sambhal district in Uttar Pradesh spoke to Scroll.in about the clashes between police and protestors on Friday. He said people had peacefully dispersed after Friday prayers, when violence broke out suddenly around 3 pm at Chandausi Chowk in Sambhal. “Some say the protestors pelted bricks at the police, others say the police began the violence,” Khan added.
Two young men died in Sambhal – Mohammad Bilal, 27, a daily wage worker, and Shehroz, 22, a truck cleaner – succumbed to bullet injuries, said Khan. The father of Shehroz also told reporters that his son died of a bullet injury, Rakesh Kumar of the Hindi newspaper Amar Ujala said.
“All the deaths that took place have been in cross firing and this will become clear in postmortem examination,” the DGP told reporters on Saturday.
Internet services were suspended across major cities in Uttar Pradesh after government orders. These included Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad, Agra, Aligarh, Ghaziabad, Varanasi, Mathura, Meerut, Moradabad, Muzaffarnagar, Bareli, Firozabad, Pilibhit, Rampur, Saharanpur, Shamli, Sambhal, Amroha, Mau, Azamgarh and Sultanpur.
The Citizenship Amendment Act aims to provide Indian citizenship to people from six persecuted minority religious communities in Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, except Muslims, as long as people from these communities have entered India on or before December 31, 2014.