Indian authorities stepped up security and shut down the internet in various places on Tuesday while members of the ruling party planned marches backing a new citizenship law even though nationwide protests against it are escalating.
An interior ministry official said the government expected all state security officials to be on duty on Christmas Eve and through the holiday week.
“We want the police to prevent an outbreak of violence but we also realise that the situation can get out of control, hence paramilitary forces will be deployed in markets and public spaces,” said a senior security official in New Delhi.
At least 20 rallies in support or against the new law were scheduled in different cities with protesters from both sides canvassing on social media to get people out over Christmas and the New Year.
The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) aims to fast-track citizenship for persecuted Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Christians who arrived in India before Dec. 31, 2014, from Muslim-majority Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.