Internet in 21 districts of Uttar Pradesh have been suspended till Friday midnight as a preventive measue in view of possible protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. Nine districts were earmarked for the internet clampdown earlier but the state government later increased the number to avoid more trouble.
The districts where internet has been blocked include: Lucknow, Hapur, Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr, Meerut, Kanpur, Ferozabad, Bareilly, Saharanpur, Bijnor, Rampur, Amroha, Bahraich, Muzaffarnagar, Sambhal, Shamli, Varanasi, Azamgarh, Moradabad, Agra, and Aligarh.
In Lucknow, mobile internet services and sms messages of all service providers except BSNL will remain suspended.
The Internet black out is aimed to prevent the dissemination of information through social media in event of any trouble.
Additional Director General (Law and Order) P.V. Ramasastry said: “We have deployed security personnel in different districts of the state and held talks with the local people. Internet services have been suspended for a day, and we are closely monitoring content on social media.”
Violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) have led to statewide imposition of prohibitory orders under Section 144, heavy deployment of forces and shutdown of internet in several areas of UP.
Across the state, 879 people have been arrested in connection with the violence while 5,000 have been detained, as per official figures. The worst-hit are Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi, Meerut, Bahraich, Agra, Firozabad and Gorakhpur. Basic banking such as cash disbursal by ATMs, digital banking transactions, OTP-related services including electronic KYC (know your customer) verification, remittance transfers and UPI (Unified Payments Interface) and AEPS (Aadhaar-Enabled Payment System) have been impacted, said market stakeholders.
“The Aadhaar-Enabled Payment System has been severely affected. Our members on the ground have written to us, but the exact extent of the impact is not yet clear,” said Anand Srivastava, founder of financial services provider Beam.
“The administration is educating people on CAA and we are also monitoring social media.
Protests have erupted across the country against the Act which grants Indian citizenship to refugees from Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Parsi communities fleeing religious persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh, who entered India on or before December 31, 2014.
Source: Economic Times