A day after protest rallies took place in 56 cities in 24 of India's 37 states and Union territories on Thursday (19 December), authorities have taken stringent measures to disrupt any demonstration against the revised citizenship law on Friday. Agitators insist that the law is unconstitutional, and want to repeal the section which gives citizenship to illegal migrants on the basis of their religion.
Initial protests in Assam led to a suspension of internet services on 11 December; these have been restored. However the internet shut-down has been imposed in 14 districts in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, the city of Mangaluru, south Kannada district in southern Karnataka state, and in the north-eastern state of Meghalya.
About 30 journalists, including a cameraman, were detained by police in Mangaluru early on Friday. TV crews were reporting from Wenlock Hospital, where the bodies of the two people killed during Thursday's police shooting were kept, when a police team asked everyone to clear the premises.
Meanwhile in Uttar Pradesh, police reports have been filed for about 17 people, including leaders of regional Samajwadi Party, MP Shafiqur Rahman Barq and Feroz Khan, in connection with violence on 19 December.
After a brutal attack on police personnel in western Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and federal Home Minister Amit Shah, a police report was filed about 3,022 people, of which 22 have been identified.
Situation in Delhi
There are four protests scheduled to take place in the nation's capital Delhi on Friday. Bhim Army, a party representing the oppressed, has issued a call for a protest march beginning from the historic Jama Masjid in old Delhi which will proceed to Jantar Mantar in Central Delhi, Students at Jamia Milia Islamia University saw a pitched battle between students and police on Sunday (15 December) as well as a pro-Citizenship Act rally near Rajiv Chowk, the central shopping hub.
While the Delhi Police have denied permission to Bhim Army, prohibitory orders have been imposed in North East Delhi and police have deployed drone-mounted cameras to keep an eye on the situation.
“Sufficient force has been deployed including 10 companies of Central Reserve Police Force and Rapid Action Force. We've held many rounds of meeting with locals and deployed drones, anti-riot gear to deal with any kind of situation,” said a police official. Others marched waving a flag in the area.
On Thursday (19 December), nearly three dozen flights were delayed or cancelled from New Delhi, as many pilots and passengers were stuck in a 6.2 mile approx. (10 kilometre)-long traffic jam on national highway 8, which had been hit by protests and security cordons.
The Citizenship Amendment Act grants citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who fled religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan and arrived before 31 December 2014. But interestingly, it barred Muslims from being granted citizenship.