Fourteen of the 17 people who were killed during clashes between police and Citizenship Act protestors in parts of Uttar Pradesh since December 19 succumbed to “firearm injuries”, The Indian Express reported on Monday. This is in contradiction to the police claims of not firing even a single bullet at protestors. The police instead said that they suspected the involvement of outsiders in the demonstrations against the amended citizenship law.

Late on Sunday, police said that a 28-year-old HIV positive patient succumbed to firearm injuries sustained during Friday’s protests in Kanpur. Thirteen others who died because of firing were identified as 32-year-old Mohammed Wakeel from Lucknow, Aftab Alam and Mohammad Saif from Kanpur, Anas, 21, and Mohammed Suleiman, 35, from Bijnor, Bilal, 24, and 23-year-old Mohammad Shehroz in Sambhal, 33-year-old Jaheer, 28-year-old Mohsin, 20-year-olds Asif and Areef in Meerut; 24-year-old Nabi Jahan in Firozabad and, Faiz Khan, 24, in Rampur.

Among the three other deaths was an eight-year-old boy who died of injuries after a stampede in Varanasi, and 35-year-old Rashid who succumbed to head injuries.

Police said the bodies of the deceased were handed over to their families after postmortems. But the families told the newspaper that they had not received the autopsy reports.

Faraz Khan said his brother Faiz Khan was shot in the abdomen. “There are over a dozen eyewitnesses and the police know who can shoot from the front,” he said. “Once the postmortem report is given to us, we will know if he died in police firing.”

“In most cases, autopsy reports suggest that the victims died in firing by protesters,” Inspector-General (Law and Order) Praveen Kumar claimed, adding that detailed reports have been sought from the districts.

An unidentified police spokesperson in Lucknow said that the autopsy report of Daulatganj resident Wakeel confirmed death due to a “firearm injury”. “It mentions blackening near the exit spot, suggesting that he was shot from close range,” he said.

Circle Officer Manoj Kumar Gupta confirmed that Alam and Saif died in Kanpur due to firearm injuries sustained “during violence that took place near the mosque in Nayi Basti”.

Alam’s brother-in-law Mohammad Rizwan said: “Aftab told me that police had fired on him. Eyewitnesses told us that my brother was shot by police.”

Bijnor Superintendent of Police Sanjeev Tyagi said Anas and Suleman also died because of firearm injuries during clashes in the Nahtaur area. Sambhal Additional Superintendent of Police Alok Kumar Jayswal said Bilal and Shehroz died during protests and that postmortem has confirmed firearm injuries.

In Meerut, Additional Superintendent of Police Akhilesh Narayan Singh said Jaheer, Mohsin, Asif, and Areef died during violent protests on Friday because of firearm injuries. Firozabad SP Sachindra Patel said the postmortem report had confirmed that Rashid died after sustaining “lacerated wounds” and Nabi Jahan died due to firearm injuries during protests in the Nalband locality.

Rampur District Magistrate Aunjaneya Kumar Singh confirmed Faiz Khan died of firearm injuries, citing the autopsy report.

UP deputy chief minister blames ‘outsiders’ for violence

Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma on Sunday alleged “outsiders’ role” in the incidents of violence reported from various districts of the state against the amended citizenship law, PTI reported.

“There is involvement of Popular Front of India,” he told reporters in Lucknow. “They have connection with SIMI. Six persons from Malda have been arrested.”

He also criticised the Opposition parties for the worsening situation in the state. “The Opposition is inciting people by making false statements,” he claimed. “The state government is capable of handling the situation effectively to ensure peace. We have spoken to Muslim clerics.”

Twenty-four people have been killed since the anti-Citizenship Act protests erupted. The highest number of deaths has been reported from Uttar Pradesh.

Also read: ‘Why kill our children?’: Blood and tears in an Uttar Pradesh town