CAA-NRC: UP on alert ahead of Friday prayers

Delhi policewomen gather outside the Uttar Pradesh Bhawan (state house) before a demonstration against the crackdown on protesters in Uttar Pradesh state, over India's new citizenship law. (AFP Photo)

An alert was sounded in Uttar Pradesh a day before special prayers on Friday in anticipation of large gatherings of Muslims at mosques even as internet services were suspended once again in around half a dozen communally sensitive districts.

The state police also rejected allegations of police excesses during the violence last week.

The state had witnessed large scale violence as people had taken to the streets to protest against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act after prayers on last Friday. As many as 20 people, mostly youngsters, were killed in alleged police firing on the protesters.

Police sources here said that section 144 was in force across the state and security personnel in strength remained deployed in all sensitive districts to maintain law and order.

''Directives have been issued to the district officials to maintain a strict vigil and take stern action in the event of a violation of the prohibitory orders,'' said a senior government official here on Thursday.

Police officials had been making announcements through loudspeakers to the people to maintain peace and not to take the law into their hands, sources said.

The officials also rejected allegations of police excesses while dealing with the protesters and claimed that the cops had used ''reasonable force'' to disperse violent mobs, that had resorted to stone-pelting and firing and targeted the cops.

''We have video evidence to prove that the cops were fired upon.....the mobs assaulted several police personnel.....around 300 cops suffered injuries.....dozens of cops suffered guns shot wounds,'' a senior police official told DH here.

Over one thousand persons have been arrested in connection with the violence so far and thousands of others have been booked in this regard. The administration has issued notices to the scores of protesters for recovery of public properties destroyed by them.

Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav, however, decried the alleged police excesses and demanded a high-level probe into the same.

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