Internet and text messaging services have been suspended in 14 districts of Uttar Pradesh, including Lucknow, following Thursday’s large-scale violence as protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) spun out of control in these areas.
As many as 3,505 people have been kept under preventive custody, according to authorities. Out of these, 200 are under preventive custody in Lucknow.
The additional chief secretary of the state’s home department, Awanish Kumar Awasthi, asked all telecom operators and internet service providers for the temporary suspension of SMS and mobile internet services till 12pm on Saturday.
This was done to prevent the “possible misuse” of SMS, WhatsApp, YouTube and Facebook to “disturb peace and tranquillity of the city and create further law and order situation, and in order that normalcy may return,” Awasthi said in a notification issued on Thursday.
Apart from Lucknow, the other districts where internet services have been suspended are Saharanpur, Meerut, Shamli, Muzzaffarnagar, Ghaziabad, Bareilly, Mau, Sambhal, Azamgarh, Agra, Kanpur , Unnao and Moradabad.
One person was killed and more than 35 people, including 16 policemen, were injured in the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Mohammad Wakil, 25, died of gun-shot injuries in Lucknow’s Hussainabad locality, near Satkhanda police outpost, where violence broke out earlier on Thursday.
Parivartan Chowk, in central Lucknow, and Madeyganj and Satkhanda localities of the old city area resembled war zones for some time amid brick-batting, vandalism, arson and firing in the air.
Police resorted to baton charge, fired tear gas shells and used water cannons to control the situation and chase away the violent mob.
Violence was also reported in two other districts of Sambhal and Amroha in west UP where protesters indulged in stone-pelting when they were stopped from taking out a protest march.
The state’s director general of police (DGP) OP Singh said police were taking extra precaution for Friday and additional manpower has been deployed at sensitive places, where violence was reported on Thursday.
An extra police force has been deployed in Lucknow’s old city to avert further trouble, officials said. The police carried out a flag march in violence-hit areas on Friday morning as the administration refrained people from moving out on road in groups.
Heavy deployment of a police force was also seen near religious places due to Friday prayers.
Lucknow’s district magistrate Abhishek Prakash and divisional commissioner Mukesh Meshram visited the old city areas on Friday morning to see the preparations of forces for maintaining peace.
More than 200 people were detained for questioning during a midnight crackdown in search of those involved in arson and vandalism in Lucknow.