UP Congress president Ajay Kumar Lallu said she also interacted with people in Nahtaur area.
Lucknow: Blaming “outsiders” for the violence during protests against the amended Citizenship Act, the UP government on Sunday said six people from West Bengal associated with Islamic outfits PFI and SIMI have been arrested, even as authorities “detained” a Trinamool Congress delegation at Lucknow airport when it was heading to meet the families of those killed in the clashes.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra visited Bijnor district where she met families of two persons killed in the violence. UP Congress president Ajay Kumar Lallu said she also interacted with people in Nahtaur area.
After days of violence that claimed at least 17 lives and left hundreds of people, including policemen, injured in Uttar Pradesh, the situation remained by and large peaceful in the state capital and other districts like Meerut, Firozabad, Kanpur and Bijnor. Internet services have been suspended in several areas till Monday, while prohibitory orders remained in force across the state.
At a hurriedly convened press conference here, deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma alleged “outsiders’ role” in the incidents of violence reported from various districts of the state during demonstrations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Acts and that protesters had used illegal firearms.
He said that six people hailing from West Bengal’s Malda district, associated with the PFI, had been arrested by the state police.
“There is involvement of Popular Front of India (PFI). They have connection with SIMI. Six people from Malda have been arrested,” he said.
Students Islamic Movement of India or SIMI is a banned terror outfit. Sharma’s statement came on a day a four-member Trinamul Congress (TMC) delegation from West Bengal, which was planning to meet the families of those killed in Uttar Pradesh during protests over the new citizenship law, was “detained” at Lucknow airport on Sunday afternoon.
One of the delegates Nadimul Haque, an MP, said he and other party members were staging a sit-in near a hangar at the CCS airport. “We have been detained at Lucknow airport. As soon as we got down from the aircraft, we were surrounded by police and were taken by the police to a secluded spot on the runway. We are staging a dharna near a hangar,” Haque told PTI over phone.
The delegation, led by former MP Dinesh Trivedi, also includes parliamentarian Pratima Mondal and Abir Biswas.
TMC chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has been one of the most vocals critics of the new law and has been leading protests in her state on the issue.
Mr Sharma told reporters that as many as 288 police personnel sustained injuries, of which 62 were due to firearms, during the violent protests.
“About 500 empty cartridges of prohibited bore have been found. This indicates that the protesters were using illegal weapons,” he said. So far, 705 people have been arrested in connection with the violence. He blamed the opposition Samajwadi Party for worsening the situation. “The Opposition is inciting people by making false statements,” he said.
Mr Sharma’s remarks came minutes after Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav attacked the ruling BJP alleging that the new citizenship law has been brought in to “divert the attention” from the “virtually destroyed” economy and rising unemployment.
Addressing a press conference here, Mr Yadav said people were made to stand in line to withdraw cash during the demonetisation exercise and now they will have to stand in queue for their rights due to National Register of Citizens.
“The economy in dire straits, has been virtually destroyed, unemployment is at an all-time high. To divert the attention from these issues, CAA was enacted,” he said.
Meanwhile, as a first step towards making protestors pay for causing damage to public properties during agitations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the Uttar Pradesh government began the process of identifying the vandals, with the Lucknow district administration forming a four-member panel to assess the damage.
Additional district magistrate-rank officers have been in-charge of different parts of the state capital to assess the damage, Lucknow district magistrate Abhishek Prakash told PTI.
The Gorakhpur police had on Saturday released photographs of around 50 people allegedly involved in protests against the amended citizenship law here after the Friday prayers. The police said the troublemakers have been identified from the video footage.
The move comes days after chief minister Yogi Adityanath said that properties of all those involved in violence would be confiscated to offset the damage.
Protests against Citizenship (Amendment) Act that broke out in several districts of Uttar Pradesh on Thursday.The amended citizenship law allows citizenship to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis who entered India till 2014 after facing religious persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The list excludes Muslims.
Mr Adityanath had said that the wrong-doers would be identified with the help of CCTV footage, video clips and photographs.
The chief minister had said that property of those involved in the violence would be seized and auctioned to compensate destruction of public assets during the protests over the amended citizenship law. “There is no place for violence in a democracy... Those damaging property have been captured in video and CCTV footage,” he had said, while appealing to people to maintain peace.
The action is based on a Supreme Court order that rioters would be strictly made liable for the damage and compensation would be collected from them.