Indian police have dispatched extra personnel in anticipation of violence breaking out in Delhi during protests against the new citizenship law. Previous riots over the law have caused more than a dozen deaths across the country.
Additional officers in full riot gear have been deployed in the Seelampur district in northeast Delhi, particularly around the historic Jama Masjid – the largest mosque in the city and one of the largest in India – where massive protests and riots broke out last Friday. Drones have been dispatched to monitor the area from above.
“In view of Friday prayers, we have deployed appropriate forces in the region,” Deputy Commissioner for Police Prakash Surya told ANI.
“Around 15 companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed. Police personnel are also deployed in sensitive areas.”
The officers are monitoring social media and using loudspeakers to urge people to maintain order on the streets.
The recently adopted Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) simplifies the citizenship process for six religious groups that have arrived from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The government insists that the act is aimed at helping persecuted minorities fleeing from Muslim-majority countries. However, the Muslim community views the new law as discriminatory.
Recent protests against the law spiraled into clashes with police, during which the rioters torched cars and threw stones. Police have also released CCTV footage, allegedly showing armed protesters firing at the officers.