The police in Uttar Pradesh’s Etawah district allegedly chased and caned women protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act on Tuesday, NDTV reported. Mobile phone footage from the area shows the police chasing women in Pachraha and beating them even as they scream in pain and ask why they were being caned.

The report quoted unidentified police office as saying that women police personnel dealt with the protestors though the video is unclear. Other mobile phone footage show some police personnel caning men in the area. The police are also seen entering a roadside eatery and beating its employees, the news channel added.

The police claimed they cracked down on the protestors after they allegedly pelted stones at them. According to local reports, around 500 people were at the protest by Tuesday night. It had begun earlier in the day with about 150 women.

The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11 last year and notified on January 10, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014.

The Act, which has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims, triggered nationwide protests. At least 26 people died during demonstrations last month – all in the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Assam. In the North East, people are protesting against the Act because they believe it threatens the region’s indigenous cultures.