Delhi protests: Government orders suspension of mobile phone service amid violence

Protesters outside Jamia Millia Islamia university in Delhi
Protesters outside Jamia Millia Islamia university in Delhi Copyright AFP
By Caroline MortimerAP
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Airtel and Vodafone India say they were told to shut down mobile and internet coverage in parts of capital in a bid to quell protests


Mobile phone services have been blocked in parts of Delhi as protesters defy a ban on demonstrations against a new citizenship law.

India’s two largest mobile phone networks, Airtel and Vodafone India, say they have compiled with a request by the Indian government to shut down services in parts of the capital.

It comes as police detained more than 100 protesters in several cities across India as they continue to demonstrate against a new law that would grant citizenship to refugees unless they are Muslim.

It has sparked anger at what many see as the government's push to bring India closer to a Hindu state.

Read more: Why is India's new citizenship law sparking protests? Euronews answers

Historian Ramchandra Guha, a biographer of India's independence leader Mohandas Gandhi, was among those detained in Bangalore, the capital of southern Karanataka state.

In Delhi, Yogendra Yadav, the chief of the Swaraj India party, was among those detained as protesters said they would go ahead with a demonstration at New Delhi's iconic Red Fort and surrounding historic district.

The new citizenship law applies to Hindus, Christians and other religious minorities who are in India illegally but can demonstrate religious persecution in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It does not apply to Muslims.

Critics say it's the latest effort by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist-led government to marginalize India's 200 million Muslims, and a violation of the country's secular constitution.

This is not the first time the Indian government has attempted to restrict access to mobile networks and the internet to quell protests.

The Indian controlled portion of Kashmir, which is disputed with Pakistan, has been without internet for more than 130 days after protests following a government decision to strip it of its semi-autonomous state.

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