Amid citizenship law outcry, Indian authorities ban protest

NEW DELHI (AP) — Police banned public gatherings in parts of the Indian capital and other cities for a third day yesterday and cut Internet services to try to stop growing protests against a new citizenship law that have so far left eight people dead and more than 1,200 others detained.

Thousands of protesters stood inside and on the steps of New Delhi’s Jama Masijd, one of India’s largest mosques, after Friday afternoon prayers, waving Indian flags and shouting slogans against the government and the citizenship law.

Police had banned a proposed march from the mosque to an area near India’s Parliament, and a large number of officers were waiting outside the mosque. About 2,000 people protested outside New Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University, which was the site of weekend clashes in which students accused to police of using excessive force that sent dozens to hospitals.

A law banning the assembly of more than four people was in place in parts of the Indian capital as well as in several cities in northeastern Assam state and the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, where a motorised rickshaw driver was killed during a protest in Lucknow. A total of eight deaths have been reported so far, including five in Assam and two in southern Karnataka state. Authorities erected roadblocks and turned areas around mosques in New Delhi, Lucknow and other Muslim-dominated areas into security fortresses to prevent widespread demonstrations after Friday prayer.

Police temporarily held 1,200 protesters in New Delhi alone on Thursday and hundreds of others were detained in other cities after they defied bans on assembly.