Indian police detained several hundred protesters after they defy ban, Latest World News - The New Paper

Indian police detained several hundred protesters after they defy ban

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NEW DELHI: Police detained several hundred protesters in some of India's biggest cities yesterday as they defied a ban on assembly that the authorities imposed to stop widespread demonstrations against a new citizenship law that opponents say threatens the country's secular democracy.

Dozens of demonstrations were planned around the country as opposition widened to the law, which excludes Muslims. The legislation has sparked anger at what many see as the Hindu nationalist-led government's push to bring India closer to a Hindu state.

Historian Ramchandra Guha, a biographer of independence leader Mohandas Gandhi, was among those detained in Bangalore, the capital of southern Karnataka state. The state government issued a ban on groups of more than four people gathering.

Reached by phone, Mr Guha said he was in a bus with other detainees and did not know where the police were taking them.

In New Delhi, Mr Yogendra Yadav, the chief of the Swaraj India party, was among those detained as protesters demonstrated at New Delhi's iconic Red Fort and the surrounding historic district.

Officials said more than 100 people were detained at the fort.

The protesters were loaded into buses and other vehicles. The main roads leading to the fort were blocked off and police did not let pedestrians go to nearby temples or shopping areas.

Internet and phone services were blocked around the fort and in some other parts of New Delhi. - AP