Internet facilities in several communally sensitive districts of Uttar Pradesh were shut down ahead of Friday prayers by the Muslim community to prevent any untoward situation. A state of high alert has been announced across the state.
The communications lockdown has been enforced in about a dozen districts of the state, including, Bijnor, Bulandshahar, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Agra, Firozabad, Sambhal, Aligarh, Ghaziabad, Rampur, Sitapur and Kanpur, media reports said.
Law enforcement agencies in Uttar Pradesh have also intensified security and patrolling ahead of Friday prayers. Prohibitory restrictions on movement and assembly have also been imposed in several places.
"We've deployed security personnel in different districts of the state and held talks with the people. Internet services have been suspended for a day, and we're also monitoring content on social media," the ANI news agency quoted P V Ramasastry, Uttar Pradesh's Additional Director General (Law and Order).
On Thursday, police and paramilitary personnel took out a flag march in sensitive areas of Gorakhpur district to ensure the maintenance of law and order. Drones equipped with cameras were also deployed in some areas.
Uttar Pradesh has witnessed several protests over the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) enacted by the federal government. The state recorded the highest number of casualties during violent protests with nineteen people killed, according to the state government.
Protests against the controversial law, which Muslims believe is discriminatory towards them, are slated to take place in several parts of the country. At the same time, the federal ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has organised a rally in western Mumbai in support of the law on Friday afternoon.
The CAA would grant citizenship to illegal immigrants from six religious minorities – Hindus, Parsis, Jains, Christians, Buddhists and Sikhs from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, if they arrived in India before 1 January 2015. But it explicitly excludes this privilege to Muslims from these countries.