A draconian colonial-era regulation is being used to shut down protests against a controversial new citizenship law in India.
The ban was imposed yesterday in parts of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and some areas of Karnataka.
Thousands of protesters were detained in many cities, as they turned up in defiance of police orders.
‘Section 144’ – as the provision is called – authorises officials to prohibit a gathering of more than four people, if they fear a possible violation of law and order.
Breaking the law is a criminal offence.
Many believe the law has been misused to try to stifle protests.
Constitutional law experts note, problems have arisen in reconciling the law with the constitutional guarantee of “free speech” and the “right to the freedom of assembly”.