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26 Dec, 2019 12:54

Indian police release VIDEO of people brandishing GUNS during protests against citizenship law

Indian police say new CCTV footage serves as clear evidence that protesters were firing at officers during the unrest sparked by the Citizenship Amendment Act, recently adopted into law.

The CCTV footage, released by police, shows several men apparently brandishing firearms during the Friday riots that rocked the city of Meerut in the northern Uttar Pradesh State, which has a sizeable Muslim minority.

A masked man in a blue jacket can be seen pointing a gun and possibly taking a shot, although it is unclear whom he is pointing at.

Police said the videos are proof of violent mobs attacking the officers at protest rallies. Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police Om Prakash Singh had stated earlier that out of the 288 policemen injured during clashes with protesters, 62 sustained gunshot wounds. He added that 500 "cartridges of prohibited bores" were recovered where the violence broke out.

Overall, fifteen people died across Uttar Pradesh during the unrest, most of them from gunshots, NDTV reported. The state police maintain they fired only plastic pellets and rubber bullets but never live rounds. At the same time, a local police official admitted to reporters that an officer fatally shot a 20-year-old "rioter" in Bijnor in self-defense, after the protester shot at him.

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) makes it simpler for persecuted minorities from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh to get Indian citizenship, but does not include Muslims, since these are all Muslim-majority states.

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The government insists the law is necessary on humanitarian grounds. The protests against the CAA have been marred with intense rioting in several Indian cities, with violent protesters torching vehicles and throwing stones at police.

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