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Police arrest more Citizenship Amendment Act demonstrators as Indian crackdown continues

PROTESTERS against Uttar Pradesh’s crackdown on anti-government demonstrations were beaten and hauled into police vehicles today outside the state’s government building in New Delhi.

India’s states have representative missions in the federal capital and protesters rallied outside Uttar Pradesh's to decry police violence that has left over a dozen dead and a clampdown that has included internet cutoffs and the deployment of paramilitary forces in many Muslim-majority areas.

India has been rocked by massive protests against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Citizenship Amendment Act, which critics say violates the constitution because it introduces a religious criterion for citizenship, excluding Muslim refugees from consideration.

Twenty-three people have been killed nationwide, with 16 of those deaths in Uttar Pradesh, which with 200 million people is India’s biggest state and the largest subdivision of a country in the world. Forty million of its residents are Muslims.

Security forces surrounded a rally at New Delhi’s Jama Masjid mosque, while in Mumbai authorities refused permission for a march against the Act.

Yet a rally by supporters of Mr Modi’s Hindu chauvinist BJP party in support of the Act was permitted.

Mumbai also saw the opening of the All-India Democratic Women’s Association conference, which vowed to “safeguard our constitution” among its themes.

West Bengal’s chief minister Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress party vowed to continue leading daily protests against the act in Calcutta, while Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary Sitaram Yechury addressed a rally against it in Hyderabad.

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