Today Picture

CAA protests: Internet services to remain suspended in Lucknow till Dec 25

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh): Lucknow District Magistrate, Abhishek Prakash, on Monday said that internet services will remain suspended till 8 pm on December 25. The services were snapped in several cities of Uttar Pradesh in the view of violent protests against the amended Citizenship Act last week.

Protests erupted in different parts of the country including Uttar Pradesh over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, which grants Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Buddhists and Christians fleeing religious persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh and came to India on or before December 31, 2014. Restrictions under Section-144 of CrPC has also been imposed in various parts of the state in view of the prevailing law and order situation.


Jharkhand polls: BJP in detention centre for 5 years

Ranchi: The BJP fortunes are in reverse gear. It is falling by the wayside in one Assembly election after another, and Jharkhand is the fifth such state.

In fact, Jharkhand is the second state after Maharashtra – where it was outwitted recently -- to slip out of BJP’s hands within two months.

For the record, the BJP now governs 35 per cent of the country's landmass, as against over 71 per cent during its peak in 2017, when it was straddling over the entire Hindi heartland.


When reports last trickled in, the JMM and Congress alliance was ahead in 47 seats -- well past the majority mark --- while the BJP was a poor straggler at 25. Hemant Soren, the tribal face of the

Cong-JMM alliance, is set to take over the chief minister’s post. With that, the pendulum has swung the other way; former chief minister Raghubar Das – a non-tribal – had clearly not endeared himself to the scheduled tribes. No wonder, the BJP’s biggest losses are in the tribal belt where it could win just two out of the 28 reserved seats.

As the trends became discernible, Das took responsibility for the defeat, saying, "It was my defeat, not the BJP's". But the blame lies as much at the doorstep of the national leadership as the state unit. More than anything, the debacle is an

indication that governance issues matter most on ground zero.

Apparently, regional aspirations are colliding with national issues like nationalism, Article 370, Ram temple, etcetera, which PM Modi and Amit Shah keep harping upon in one State election after another.

In a way, it is also an indictment of the BJP strategy to foist leaders on states. Raghubar Das -- neither charismatic nor a great administrator -- was thrust on the party in Jharkhand.

M L Khattar, a Khatri, had parachuted into Jat-dominated Haryana and Devendra Fadnavis, a Brahmin, was inflicted on Maratha-dominated Maharashtra.

No wonder, Das was not able to dispel the impression in ‘tribal’ Jharkhand that he was cosying up with industrialists who were plundering the State of its natural resources.

A part of the problem is that the BJP has been reduced to a two-rung leadership. Regional leaders like Vasundhara Raje, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Raman Singh, Uma Bharti, Prem Dhumal etc. are on the periphery.

Unwittingly, the BJP had also allowed its allies - the AJSU, the JDU and the LJP - to move out of the combination in Jharkhand. It is almost a replay of what happened in Maharashtra where the BJP dumped its long standing ally, the Shiv Sena.

Interestingly, the Congress, by playing second fiddle to the JMM, a regional party, is re-enacting its pre-2004 political strategy, when it had knit alliances with small parties and reached a position where it could dare and defeat the NDA led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

While the Congress is set to go with the RJD in Bihar, the real challenge will be West Bengal where the BJP has emerged the main challenger to the TMC. It may have to choose between the TMC and the Left next year.

However, round the corner is the Delhi Assembly elections, where the Congress may try to remove the zero tag that it gained after ruling the state for many years.


No detention camps? MoS said there are 6 in Assam!

New Delhi: While Prime Minister Narendra Modi has claimed that there are no detention centres in the country, his ministers informed the Lok Sabha numerous times that there are six such centres in Assam.

“Detention centres are set up by state governments or Union Territory administrations as per their requirement, for detaining illegal migrants or foreigners who have completed their sentence and are awaiting deportation to their native country.

At present, detention centres have been set up only in Assam,” Minister of State of Home Affairs Nityanand Rai had informed the Lok Sabha on November 19.


In reply to a question raised by Congress MP from Barpeta constituency of Assam, Rai said, as of November 13, a total of 1,043 foreigners were residing in the six detention centres in Assam. “A total of 1,025 Bangladeshi and 18 Myanmarese are in these centres,” he informed the House.

Rai, on July 2, stated that instructions have been issued to all state governments and UTs from time to time -- in 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2018 -- for setting up detention centres to restrict the movements of illegally staying foreign nationals, so that they are physically available at all times for expeditious repatriation and deportation.

He also said that since illegal migrants enter the country without valid travel documents “in a clandestine and surreptitious manner, there is no accurate data regarding the number of such illegal migrants living in the country”.

PM Modi in his speech at Ramlila Maidan on Sunday said the CAA is not for any Indian, be it Muslim or Hindu. He also said opposition parties are spreading rumours that all Muslims will be sent to detention centres.

“Neither Muslims are being sent to the detention centres, nor there are any detention centres in the country,” Modi said while addressing the rally in the national capital.

However, on July 16, G Kishan Reddy, also Minister of State for Home, said the detention centres in Assam cater to Declared Foreign Nationals and Convicted Foreigners who have completed their sentences and whose repatriation to their country of origin is pending nationality verification.

The centres are in Goalpara, Kokrajhar, Silchar, Dibrugarh, Jorhat and Tezpur, having 970 people, as of November 28.

He rejected the scope of the question raised by Congress MP from Thrissur (Kerala) TN Prathapan that these centres are to detain those who don't have enough documents to prove their citizenship.

He said the Ministry of Home Affairs has also issued a Camp Manual' for implementation and compliance in these centres. Reddy, on July 2, in another answer to Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, informed that 769 people have been kept in these detention centres (in Assam) for more than a year, as of June 25.

Reddy, on December 3, informed that Women and men detainees are kept in separate rooms, with sufficient essential and basic facilities.


Why BJP didn't grant full farm loan waiver when in power?: Shiv Sena

Mumbai: Hailing the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government for declaring loan waiver of up to Rs two lakh for farmers, the Shiv Sena on Monday hit out at the BJP for seeking to write off debts fully and asked why it did not address the issue when it was in power.

In a veiled attack on the BJP-led central government, the Shiv Sena, in its party mouthpiece 'Saamana', noted that the Thackeray government took the decision of farm loan waiver at a time when the country is "burning" over the issue of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.


Without naming the BJP, it said one can provoke people by playing politics of sentiments, but he/she needs courage to take a decision in the interest of farmers.

The Maharashtra government on Saturday announced a loan waiver of up to Rs two lakh for farmers, with a cut off date of September 30, 2019.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray made the announcement in the Legislative Assembly on the last day of the state legislature's winter session in Nagpur.

The BJP staged a walkout seeking full loan waiver. "The chief minister announced the decision at a time when the country is burning over the issue of the citizenship law.

One can provoke people playing politics of sentiments, but needs spunk to take a decision in the interest of farmers," the Shiv Sena said in sarcastic remarks.

This is the first step of the new government towards writing off farmers' debts completely, the Marathi daily said.

It said the demand for full farm loan waiver was made by Sena president Thackeray himself during the tenure of the previous Devendra Fadnavis-led government.

The Fadnavis government could have also given full loan waiver, but it did not do so then and is now seeking writing off debts completely when the BJP is in opposition, the Shiv Sena observed.

"You are not appreciating the government's decision to write off farmers' loans of upto Rs two lakh, but questioning whether full loan waiver has been extended. You were in power in Maharashtra for five years. Why did not you give it then? You should tell this first," it said.

It is a question whether the Centre will fulfil the expectation of giving financial aid to Maharashtra, the economy of which is in a "precarious state", the Sena said, and asked Fadnavis to pursue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue.

Referring to the BJP's rally in Nagpur on Sunday in support of the amended citizenship law and Union minister Nitin Gadkari's remark, asking if it was a crime to be a Hindu in this country, the Shiv Sena said majority of farmers in Maharashtra are also Hindus and facing the problem of making ends meet.

"But, we (Shiv Sena) think about it (farmers' woes). The issues of loan waiver for farmers and providing meal at Rs 10 are crucial for the poor. But the BJP missed those issues," the Marathi publication alleged.

"The BJP doesn't have to sulk if farmers feel joyous (after announcement of loan waiver). Be a part of farmers' joy," it said.


NRC may not be required in Goa at all: CM Pramod Sawant

Panaji: Amid protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) across the country, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has said that the latter may "not be required" at all in the state.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a function in North Goa district on Sunday, Sawant also said, that Goan residents need not fear vis a vis the CAA, even as the Congress accused the BJP-led coalition government in Goa of putting the fates of thousands of Goans holding Portuguese passports and their immediate families in peril.


When asked if the NRC would be implemented in Goa, the Chief Minister said that it may "not be required at all".

When Sawant was questioned about a recent extra ordinary state government gazette notification, which says that the process of updating the National Population Register

"which is being seen as the precursor to the implementation of the NRC" would begin from April 2020, the Goa Chief Minister said that he would make a statement on the issue, only after reading the gazette notification.

"I am not making any statement... I will go through the new notification and then I will make a statement," he added.

The Chief Minister however said, that the CAA would have no impact on residents of Goa. If Portuguese passport holders want to "convert" their existing citizenship into Indian citizenship, there are existing procedures for the same, Sawant also said.

His assurance comes at a time when the implementation of the NRC and the CAA has seen opposition in several parts of the country.

In Goa too the Congress has begun to exert pressure on Sawant and the BJP to explain, how they would safeguard the interests of thousands of Goan Portuguese passport holders and their immediate kin.

The coastal state of Goa, a Portuguese colony for over 450 years gained independence from Portuguese rule in 1961. The departing Portuguese however offered Goan natives of choosing Portuguese citizenship.

The privilege of availing of Portuguese citizenship was later granted to Goans who had lived in Portuguese-ruled Goa, as well as their off-springs up to three generations down the line.

Thousands of Goans have used the opportunity to migrate to Portugal and subsequently to the UK, thanks to the easy access across countries under the aegis of the European Union.

A significant number of expat Goans have also availed of the 'Bilhete de Identidade', the Portuguese national identity card, which takes the applicant a step closer towards obtaining the Portuguese passport.

Rough estimates suggest that up to 30,000 Goans are living in the United Kingdom, using the Portuguese citizenship route.


An appreciable improvement in agri sector efficiency, says Agriculture min Narendra Tomar

What are the measures that the government has taken to improve the lives of farmers and their families?

The government constituted an inter-ministerial committee on April, 2016 to examine issues relating to ‘Doubling of Farmers’ Income’ and recommend strategies to achieve the same. The committee submitted its report to the government on September, 2018 and thereafter, an empowered body was set up (on January 23, 2019) to monitor and review the progress as per these recommendations. Due to the efforts made as part of schemes/ programmes of the Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare which also aligns with the strategy of doubling farmers’ income, there has been an appreciable improvement in efficiency bringing about a positive impact in the agriculture sector. 

Agriculture being a state subject, the state governments undertake implementation of programmes/ schemes to improve the lives of farmers and their families. The centre only  supplements the effort of the state governments through various schemes/ programmes.

Various schemes of the government are: 

• Implementation of distribution of soil health cards to farmers so that the use of fertilisers can be rationalised.

• ‘Per drop more crop’ initiative under which drip/ sprinkler irrigation is being encouraged for optimal utilisation of water, reducing the cost of inputs and increasing productivity.

• ‘Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY)’ to  promote organic farming.

• Launch of e-NAM initiative to provide farmers an electronic transparent and competitive online trading platform. 

• With a view to provide better insurance coverage to crops for risk mitigation, a crop insurance scheme namely Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) was launched.  This scheme provides insurance cover for all stages of the crop cycle. 

• Under ‘Har Medh Par Ped’, agro forestry is being promoted for additional income.  

• The government has approved the increase in the Minimum Support Price (MSPs) for all Kharif and Rabi crops for 2018-19 season at a level of at least 150 percent of the cost of production.

• The government has approved a new umbrella scheme ‘Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay Sanrakshan Abhiyan (PM-AASHA)’.  The scheme is aimed at ensuring remunerative prices to the farmers for their produce.

• Beekeeping has been promoted under Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) to increase the productivity of crops through pollination and increase the honey production.

• Interest subvention of 2 per cent  on short-term crop loans up to Rs 3 lakh has been introduced. Presently, loan is available to farmers at an interest rate of 7 per cent per annum, which gets reduced to 4 per cent on prompt repayment.

•  The government sets an annual target for the flow of credit to the agriculture sector, Banks have been consistently surpassing the annual target. The current year’s agriculture credit flow target has been set at Rs 13.50 lakh crore.

• Under Interest Subvention Scheme 2018-19, in order to provide relief to the farmers on occurrence of natural calamities, the interest subvention of 2 per cent  shall continue to be available to banks for the first year on the restructured amount. Many such schemes are introduced. 

• Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) aims to provide a payment of Rs 6,000  per year, in three or four-monthly installments of Rs 2,000 to the farmers families.

Farmer suicides have been hitting the headlines for some time now. What do you think should be done to deal with this crisis?

Taking cognisance of the problem of farmers’ suicide in the country, the government had undertaken a study ‘Farmers Suicide in India: Causes and Policy Prescription’ as an all India coordinated study in the work plan 2016-17 through the Institute of Social and Economic Change (ISEC), Bengaluru. The study covered 13 states of the country which included Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. The study concluded that frequent crop failure due to vagaries of monsoon, absence of assured water resources and attack of pests and diseases are the most important causes of farmers’ distress. The study had made inter-alia following suggestions to address the above problems:

• Bringing individual farmers under the ambit of crop insurance;

• Judicious use of available water is required;

• Government intervention through MSP covering the cost of production plus reasonable profit margin;

• Risk hedging through crop and enterprise diversification should be encouraged to reduce farmers’ distress aiming at sustainable income; and

• Regulate informal credit market.

An appreciable improvement in agri sector efficiency, says Agriculture min Narendra Tomar

The biggest empowering mechanism for farmers is Kurien model where a farmer gets 60-80 per cent of the market price of his milk. What policies is the government planning to ensure that a farmer gets at least 50 per cent of the market price of his produce?

The Union Budget for 2018-19 had announced the pre-determined principle to keep MSP at levels of one and a half times of cost of production.

Accordingly, the government has increased the MSPs for all mandated kharif, rabi and other commercial crops with a return of at least 50 per cent of the cost of production for the agricultural year 2018-19. The recent increase in MSP of rabi crops of year 2019-20 to be marketed in Rabi Market-ing Season 2020-21 is also in accordance to the principle of providing at least 50 per cent  return over the cost of production.

What plans does the government have in mind to deal with unseasonal rains (and effects of climate change)?

The primary responsibility for disaster management rests with the state governments. The concerned state governments undertake relief measures in the wake of natural disasters from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) already placed at their disposal in accordance with government of India approved items and norms. Additional assistance is extended from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) as per established procedure. The assistance approved under SDRF/NDRF norms is in the form of relief only and not by way of compensation for the loss suffered. 

Since excessive rain is not a calamity notified by Ministry of Home Affairs and the state governments are empowered to utilise up to 10 per cent of the funds available under SDRF for providing immediate relief to the victims of natural disasters that they consider to be ‘disasters’ within the local context in the state, they do not report crop loss due to excessive rain to Government of India.    

Around Rs 13,465 crore has been allocated under SDRF funds for 2019-2020. The centre has released around Rs 8, 536 crore under SDRF and funds released under NDRF is Rs 11,000 crore.

An appreciable improvement in agri sector efficiency, says Agriculture min Narendra Tomar

Reassess the past to understand the future

It was only after the increase in number of farmer’s suicide in the cotton-growing belt of old Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and old Madhya Pradesh (in 1990) that Indian agrarian crisis gained national and international attention. These suicides have been linked with free trade and introduction of GMO technology (that  were termed as modern tools of farmers genocides in India)—garnering attention from international institutions. 

It is estimated that since 1997, India has lost a large number of innocent  farmers mainly from dry land and small-marginal farmers involved in cash crop cultivation like cotton. It was after 1983, the agrarian economy synonyms to rural economy collapsed. This fall was mainly due to adverse effect of chemical farming —  which made agriculture very rich by increasing productivity but farmers became poor due to the cost of cultivation. This was followed by gradual reduction in production due to excessive use of chemical fertilisers and drop in rejuvenation of soil health. This infeasible farming activities added fuel to the ongoing crisis. A lot of decisions taken by Indian government like free trade, globalisation etc, added to the agrarian crisis in the country. This was mainly due to the wrong policies of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and World Bank— they exploited Third World countries for survival of developed economies like USA and Europe. The present agrarian crisis in South-East Asia is a result of a new type of colonisation.

Inward looking: The centre and state governments neglected the core issues of farmers.

All governments failed to address issues like:

• Input cost control or reduction in cultivation which has been increased due monopolies of MNC involved in the business of seed, fertiliser and pesticide; 

• WTO’s restrictions to withdraw subsidies;

• Faulty minimum support price;

• Wrong export-import policies allowed various lobbies such textile, oil, sugar, pulses to get their agro produce in throwaway prices by bribing ministers and babus resulting in huge losses.

States have tried their level best to increase the productivity of farmers and have record production. While agriculture growth is almost in double digits, the concern is about the farmer’s income that has dropped continuously. The doubling of farmers’ income should be our focus area, but it will take time. People who are responsible for such collapse in income of farmers should be held accountable. My concern is insensitivity of officials to this cause.

After the bumper crop production, the state lags behind in procurement. The NAFED and FCI are not at all ready for such situations. In the past, they did not even open procurement centres on time and farmers were forced to sell their produce in the open markets. Farmers’ income is not increasing but the cost of livelihood has. This has led to a collapse of the rural economy and the state has to address it. While the government is trying to address it, the bureaucrats are failing in their duty to do so. 

Change agri policies: The need of the hour is to bring drastic changes in policies. The priorities of development need to change. As an agriculture activist, I see no difference between the  NDA government and the UPA government— and their basic priorities with regard to development. Both are developing metros but are neglecting rural economy. There have been no drastic change in the policies (of BJP government) with regard to the farmers. The previous government’s policies are still being implemented. However, I think the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are the only hope because the Congress did not change the policies. 

In an open economy, the minimum support price (MSP) is a hypothetical concept. There are large variations in the MSP and the market price. The farmers’ distress is still prevailing.

I have recommended that credit cycle should be of five years. If you cannot increase the debt paying capacity, you have to give loan waiver after every three years. But it should not be given out  of political compulsions. The bailout packages are a must and should be given at a critical time. Even the last loan waiver did not resolve the crisis. The hostile environment in terms of credit should change. The idea is to come up with a better credit arrangement that can do away with the farmers’ financial difficulties on a long-term basis. The opposition parties will demand loan waiver but it is their political immaturity.

In the case of the dry land farmers’ limit, it should be five hectares if you are not giving a blanket loan waiver. The farmers, who are excluded from earlier loan waivers and are regularly paying their debt, should be given an incentive so that a culture of repayment is developed. Loan waiver will not solve any problem. The state has to go in detail to study the factors affecting the rural economy. Listen to people that are agitating.

Focus on rural economy: Unless and until, we have a protected economy for rural masses and address the issue of cost of the farm produce, things won’t change. The priorities of development should be focused on the crisis. The investments should be in the rural sector but that is not happening. The focus on rural economy should take place. Otherwise, the governments will go on changing but the core issues will remain. The prevailing environment in the country suggests that it will give no more chance to the government, because there is unrest which is a leaderless. This shows it is the people’s unrest.

-By Kishor Tiwari

Tiwari, a farm activist,  chaired the state government task force Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavlamban Mission.


Free Farmers: Make agriculture the engine of growth

Pulling farming community out of distress is eminently essential for pulling the Indian economy out of deep recession. The crisis in agriculture has continued for an inordinate long period and it needs massive political will on the part of the government to implement solutions which organisations like  All India Kisan Sabha and other farmers’ organisations have submitted to the successive governments umpteen number of times. The foremost of these is ensuring adequate income to farmer families and augment their purchasing power. That will create a huge market for industrial production which in turn will give an impetus to economic growth. Agricultural growth rate has been slipping consistently and has gone down to 2.6 per cent, the lowest in the last 15 years. 

The BJP government was forced to announce an abysmal figure of Rs 6,000 a year as aid to each farming family, which too has not been implemented. Instalments of Rs 2,000 remain pending as well. Even the entire amount covers only three to five per cent of the production cost. During BJP rule, around 60,000 farmers have committed sucide (which the government has stopped counting) and 2,000 farmers leave farming every day. Rising prices of inputs and low prices of farm products is the single most cause of this tragedy. Instead of stopping this internal migration, the government is spreading the false narrative of accepting religion-based illegal migrants from some selected countries.

The single most important tool to empower farmers is the mechanism of Minimum Support Price (MSP) for their produce. This was recommended by the Swaminathan Commission but BJP government went back on their words.. It did so because for the BJP, profits for agri-business are more important than farmers’ well being. 

After the farmers’ nationwide upsurge against the Modi government’s betrayal, it suddenly announced an MSP formula at cost of production plus 50 per cent from the 2018 kharif season. But that was deceptive as the Swaminathan formula would have given Rs  500 to 1,500 a quintal depending on the crop. The latter included rent on land as well as fixed capital in the cost of production. The government excluded these from its MSP calculations. Thus under BJP rule the MSP for paddy grew at an annual rate of 4.3 per cent as against 12 per cent during the previous decade. It was only the LDF government of Kerala that gave an additional Rs 700 per quintal over the declared MSP to meet the demand of the Swaminathan formula for MSP. Such remunerative MSP can only be ensured with the government ensuring state procurement.

Ensuring this MSP also depends on charging proper import duties on farm products. Cheap imports from rich countries, heavily subsidised by their governments, push down the market prices of Indian produce. That is why the Modi government was prevented from signing the RCEP agreement. Signing it would have been a death knell for the Indian dairy farmer. 

The government must put a cap on rising prices of inputs like seeds, fertilisers and pesticides. The government must be prevented from its habitual withdrawal from agricultural research for strengthening scientific inputs. The farmer must be saved from the loot of the MNCs in this sector.

In case of crop insurance, BJP’s Fasal Bima Yojana pulls a fast one on farmers to fill the coffers of the insurance companies. In 2016-17,  farmers paid a premium of Rs 42,114 of which 21 per cent was converted as corporate profit, thus 11 companies earning over Rs 15,000 crore in the first two years of this scheme. And this was from the reverse investment made by the farmers!  Just an example: Farmers of Parbhani district, a part of suicide region of Maharashtra, paid a premium of Rs 19 crore to which Rs 144 crore was added by the state and central governments. Insurance paid was mere Rs 30 crore thus pocketing Rs 143 crore of distressed farmers and more distressed government of India.

Farmers are being dispossessed on account of land grab for corporate interests from the real estate to construction lobby. The Modi government weakened the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, which was earned by farmers through a hard struggle. Farmers’ interests are diluted and their land is being divested for various corridors at virtually one-tenth the real price. This, again, is the reverse investment for big corporate houses. This must stop to reduce distress.

-By Uday Narkar

Narkar is VP of the Maharashtra State Council of the All India Kisan Sabha and a member of the Secretariat, Maharashtra State Committee, Communist Party of India (Marxist)


CAA protest: Death toll in Uttar Pradesh violence rises to 11

Lucknow: At least 11 people, including an 8-year-old boy, have lost their lives in Uttar Pradesh as the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act turned violent in the state, officials said on Saturday.

Four deaths were reported from Meerut district, while the boy lost his life in a stampede in Varanasi when a violent mob was being chased by police personnel, they said. After Friday prayers, six people were killed as protesters clashed with the police at several places in the state. They hurled stones and torched vehicles, the officials said. There have been reports of firing on police personnel deployed to maintain law and order, they said.

Six policemen also received bullet injuries in various parts of the state, they said, adding the condition of one policeman continued to be critical. Violence during the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests has so far claimed lives in Bijnor, Sambhal, Firozabad, Kanpur, Varanasi and Meerut in the state.


CAA protests: After violent protests, section 144 imposed in Gorakhpur

Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh): Following violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act here, the city police imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the IPC in Gorakhpur on Saturday to maintain law and order situation in the district. "The situation is peaceful here today. Yesterday also in the evening the situation was normal after the violent protests," a local told ANI.

Violent clashes erupted between the protesters and police personnel here on Friday during protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in the state as both pelted stones at each other. Policemen equipped with riot gears, retaliated by throwing the stones back towards the protesters.In the video of the incident, protesters wearing skull caps were seen throwing a stone towards the police party. Subsequently, the policemen also picked the stones and threw it towards the rioters.

Protests have intensified in various parts of the country against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, which was enacted into law on December 12, 2019. The CAA grants citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Buddhists and Christians fleeing religious persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who came to India on or before December 31, 2014.