LUCKNOW: Amid high alert and internet blackout across violence-hit districts and other sensitive areas, the Friday prayers (namaz) passed off peacefully in Uttar Pradesh. Two days after restoring the internet services in the state after a week-long curb, over 21 districts witnessed a renewed clampdown as a precautionary measure for Friday special prayers following violent protests against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in the past few days.
Notably, widespread violence had hit several districts of the state after Friday prayers on December 20 and during anti-CAA protests in Lucknow on December 19. Amid intelligence inputs about a possible flare-up yet again over CAA, the internet was snapped off in all those districts, including state capital Lucknow, which had witnessed huge protests last week.
As per UP DGP OP Singh, the law and order situation was absolutely under control, but the strategic deployment of police forces was in place keeping the volatility of the situation in mind. “We had to suspend internet services in 21 districts, they will be restored as and when the situation demands," said OP Singh, the Director General of Police, on Friday.
Besides a blackout of internet services, huge contingents of police force carried out a flag march in all the districts which were hit by the violent protests last week.
Inspector general (IG) of police, Law and Order, Praveen Kumar said the situation was normal across the state but the police were on alert and keeping a tight vigil to avert any further trouble. He said the district police chiefs were asked to communicate with Muslim clerics and other religious leaders as well as hold peace committee meetings with local group leaders and influential people. He said the additional force was deployed in some districts to ensure peaceful namaz on Friday.
The state government had also decided to enforce internet shutdown in many districts, including Lucknow, Agra, Mathura, Ferozabad, Saharanpur, Bijnor, Bulandshahr, Ghaziabad, Meerut, Kanpur, Sambhal, Aligarh, Sitapur, Muzaffarnagar, Rampur and Shamli on Friday.
An appeal was made to the people not to believe any rumours and coordinate with police to ensure peace and maintain law and order, he added.
During last week’s violent protests against CAA, around 21 persons lost their lives across the state A majority of deceased had sustained gunshots. After initial denial, the police administration of different districts including Bijnor, Bulandshahr, Meerut and Kanpur had admitted to firing to quell the violent protests.
So far, over 350 cases were lodged against miscreants and trouble makers with 1,113 arrested and over 5500 detained in connection with large scale violence during the anti-CAA protests in the state.
As per the investigation agencies, the role of Popular Front of India has come to the fore in allegedly fomenting trouble, violence, arson and vandalism during the protests in various districts of Uttar Pradesh.