Senior officials of the Union Home Ministry attended a meeting to review the security situation in the country on Thursday evening amid violent protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, sources said. Reports had earlier said that Home Minister Amit Shah would chair the meeting. Massive protests against the contentious new law that promises citizenship to immigrants from neighbouring countries excluding Muslims have swept India culminating into clashes with law enforcement and crackdowns.
Police detained hundreds of people in Delhi, Bengaluru and several parts of India on Thursday and shut down the internet in some places as protests entered a second week over the new citizenship law that critics say undermines the country's secular constitution.
Citing law and order concerns following violent protests against the law during the past week, authorities imposed bans against public gatherings in parts of the capital and two big states - Uttar Pradesh in the north and Karnataka in the south. Similar restrictions were also imposed in parts of Delhi and capital's border with Haryana was sealed.
Defying the bans, protesters held rallies at Delhi's historic Red Fort and a town hall in Bengaluru, Karnataka's state capital, but police swept in to round up people in the vanguard of those demonstrations as they tried to get underway.
In Bengaluru, Ramchandra Guha, a respected historian and intellectual, was taken away by police along with several other professors.
Police said they had detained around 200 people in the city, where according to protest organisers thousands of people attended four protests held in the city on Thursday.
At the Red Fort protest, academic turned politician Yogendra Yadav was among some 100 that police said they had detained.
The BJP government has dug its heels in over the law that lays out a path for people from minority religions in neighbouring Muslim countries - Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan - who had settled in India before 2015 to obtain Indian citizenship.
Opponents of the law say the exclusion of Muslims betrays a deep-seated bias against the community, which makes up 14 per cent of India's population, and that the law is the latest move in a series by the ruling BJP to marginalise them.
(With inputs from agencies)