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Ahead of Friday prayers, internet shut down in several UP districts, security beefed up

Additional Director General P.V. Ramasastry said: “We have deployed security personnel in several districts of UP and held talks with the local people

Lucknow: Security was intensified in sensitive areas across Uttar Pradesh to ensure peace during Friday prayers in observe of widespread violence by those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act. Last week which claimed 19 lives. Internet services have also been suspended in 21 districts across the UP.

To avoid a repeat of last Friday’s violence in Gorakhpur, police marched in sensitive areas and held a meeting with peace committees in all circles and police station areas.

On Friday Paramilitary force personnel and state police have been deployed, and drone cameras are being used to ensure security, Gorakhpur District Magistrate Vijyendra Pandiyan said.

On the other hand, the process to seize the property of those involved in damaging the public property during the agitation gained momentum as 372 people were served notices in different districts.

On Thursday a Home Department spokesperson put the death toll at 19 in the violence, which left 288 policemen injured, including 61 who received firearm injury. He said 327 FIRs have been registered and 5,558 preventive arrests made.

Initially, nine districts in UP had been marked for internet shutdown, but close to midnight on Thursday, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Avanish Awasthi issued an order that internet services in 21 districts would remain suspended till Friday midnight.

The districts where the internet has been blocked are Lucknow, Hapur, Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr, Meerut, Kanpur, Ferozabad, Bareilly, Saharanpur, Bijnor, Rampur, Amroha, Bahraich, Muzaffarnagar, Sambhal, Shamli, Varanasi, Azamgarh, Moradabad, Agra, and Aligarh.

The internet shutdown is a preventive measure in view of the Friday prayers and possible agitation against the CAA.

The Internet shutdown is aimed to prevent the spreading of information through social media in event of any trouble.

Earlier, internet service had remained shut down for six days in Lucknow and was restored on Wednesday night after violence broke out during the anti-CAA protests last week.

Additional Director General P.V. Ramasastry said: “We have deployed security personnel in several districts of UP and held talks with the local people. Internet services have been suspended for a day, and we are closely monitoring situations on social media.”

Meanwhile, repeatedly internet shutdowns have begun to cause bitterness among the people.

Manav Agnihotri, a student in Prayagraj, said on Friday morning that internet suspension has adversely affected his studies. “We are dependent on the internet for studies and this is affecting my studies because I am preparing for civil service examinations in 2020.”

Chhatrapal Singh, a retired government officer, was angry when he said: “If the entire law and order situation is dependent on the internet, then the state government should permanently suspend the internet. This is supposed to be the digital age, but every two days, we face a network internet blackout.”

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