15 Dead In Violence In UP Since Thursday Over Citizenship Protests

CAA Protest: Demonstrations against the law have been sweeping the country since December 11, when the law was signed off by President Ram Nath Kovind.

CAA News: Police say 263 cops have also been injured in the violence since Thursday.

Lucknow:

Thirteen people were killed in violence across Uttar Pradesh over the centre's new citizenship law, which broke out after Friday prayers. One person had died in Lucknow and one in Sambhal on Thursday, taking the total number of deaths in the state to 15. The police said four persons have died in Meerut, two each in Firozabad and Bijnor, one each in Sambhal, Kampur, Varanasi and Lucknow.

Police say 263 Uttar Pradesh cops have also been injured in the violence since Thursday.

Violence had taken place across 13 districts on Thursday. The list included Saharanpur, Deoband, Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Ghaziabad, Hapur, Sambhal, Aligarh, Bahraich, Ferozabad, Kanpur, Bhadohi and Gorakhpur.

Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police OP Singh has denied that police firing was responsible for any of the deaths. "We did not shoot even a single bullet," he said. Another officer had claimed that "if any firing happened, it was from the protesters' side".

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act makes religion the test of citizenship -- a first in the country. The government says it will help minorities from three Muslim-dominated countries to get citizenship if they fled to India because of religious persecution.

Critics say it is designed to discriminate against Muslims and violates the secular principles of the constitution.

Protests against the law have been sweeping the country since December 11, when it was signed off by President Ram Nath Kovind.

While initially, the northeast, Delhi and Bengal were affected, the protests escalated in Uttar Pradesh since Thursday. Lucknow was the first to join into the 13-city protest called across India.  

It was also one of the two cities to witness much violence - the other was Bangalore.

The catalyst was Sunday's protests by students of Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi. The march had ended in violence, with outsiders joining in, burning vehicles and throwing stones at the police.

The subsequent police action on students had triggered a string of student protests that started at the Aligarh Muslims University.

On Thursday, violence broke out in three  key areas in Lucknow city, with protesters burning vehicles and clashing with the police.

On Thursday, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said his government will take "revenge" on those involved in the violence over the amended Citizenship Act by auctioning their property to compensate for the losses.

"There is no place for violence in a democracy. In the name of opposing the CAA, the Congress, SP and Left parties have pushed the entire country to fire," he said.