NEW DELHI, Dec 27 (KUNA) — Several Indian cities on Friday continued witnessing massive protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act despite arrests, the suspension of internet services and tightened security.
The amended legislation is being seen by many as discriminatory against Indian Muslims, but the government continues to deny this is the case.
In the capital, New Delhi, peaceful protests were held in several cities despite the massive deployment of police and paramilitary forces and use of unmanned drones for inspections.
Jama Masjid, which was a site of popular protest demonstration last week, saw massive gathering this week as well after Friday prayers.
Jamia Milliyya Islamia and Jor Bagh and several other cities in New Delhi were also rocked by protests, though the police tried to round up and detained several protesters.
The Press Trust of India said that in West Bengal the opposition Left Front and the Congress carried out a joint rally in Kolkata against the controversial Citizenship Act.
Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee said that her Trinamool Congress party would not stop protesting until the central government withdrew the act and asserted that no citizen would be stripped of their citizenship, expelled from the country or put in detention centers.
In the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, authorities have cut internet in 21 of 75 districts to foil any attempt to organise demonstrations.
“The law and order situation is absolutely under control, we continue to have strategic deployment of forces. We have suspended internet services in 21 districts, they will be restored as and when the situation demands,” Police Director General OP Singh said.
Apart from the state capital Lucknow, several flash-points, where the police and protesters clashed last week, have suffered due to the suspension and restrictions.
So far, police in the BJP-ruled state have arrested more than 1,000 people in addition to detaining 5,000 more following deadly violence in the wake of the protests.
The financial capital of India, Mumbai, witnessed two peaceful demonstrations as thousands gathered at the Azad Maidan south of the city while hundreds marched, four kilometres away, at the August Kranti Maidan in support of the legislation.
In Assam, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party held a peace rally, led by Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, at Jagiroad in Morigaon district.
This came as various organizations, civil society groups and students continued to express their anger against the Act across the state.
Protests were also held across the southern Indian states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka.