The death count in violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Uttar Pradesh has risen to 11, officials said on Saturday. Protestors went on rampage in several districts of the state, pelting stones at police and setting vehicles on fire on Friday.
Four deaths were reported from Meerut district, while the boy lost his life in a stampede in Varanasi when a violent mob was being chased by police personnel, they said. After Friday prayers, six people were killed as protesters clashed with the police at several places in the state. They hurled stones and torched vehicles, the officials said.
There have been reports of firing on police personnel deployed to maintain law and order, they said. Six policemen also received bullet injuries in various parts of the state, they said, adding the condition of one policeman continued to be critical.
The cause of death would be known after a post-mortem on the victims, officials said. Director-General of Police OP Singh, however, maintained that none of the deaths were due to police firing. Several people were injured. The DGP said 50 policemen were seriously hurt.
Stone-pelting or more serious clashes with police were also reported from Bhadohi, Bahraich, Amroha, Farurukhabad, Ghaziabad, Varanasi, Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, Hapur, Hathras, Bulandshahr, Hamirpur, and Mahoba districts.
At many places, police used lathis, lobbed tear-gas shells and, according to some officials, rubber bullets when they failed to contain angry mobs.
Police were often targeted when they stopped people from taking out processions in defiance of prohibitory orders in places all over the state. At least six vehicles, including those of police, were set ablaze in Firozabad, forcing police to use tear-gas shells to disperse the mobs.
Half a dozen vehicles, mostly of policemen, were also torched in Kanpur's Babupurwa area and six people were hurt in the city, Additional DG (Kanpur zone) Prem Prakash said. He said 10 people allegedly involved in arson and stone-peltingg were arrested.
In Meerut's Islamabad locality, protesters targeted a police post, setting fire to some furniture and a motorcycle parked nearby. Internet services were suspended across major cities in Uttar Pradesh, following state government orders.
These included Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad, Agra, Aligarh, Ghaziabad, Varanasi, Mathura, Meerut, Moradabad, Muzaffarnagar, Bareli, Firozadad, Pilibhit, Rampur, Saharanpur, Shamli, Sambhal, Amroha, Mau, Azamgarh and Sultanpur.
Lucknow and Aligarh, which have been the scenes of clashes in recent days over the citizenship law, remained largely calm. In Aligarh, where a red alert had been sounded by the administration, Friday prayers passed off peacefully, SSP Akash Kulhari said.
Peace calls were made from mosques in Muslim-dominated areas in the morning, including by the Shahr Mufti Khalid Hamed who urged people to ignore rumours.
Security was tightened in the state capital with the deployment of armed police, and senior officials said the Friday prayers passed off peacefully in Lucknow.
With PTI Inputs