India Erupts in Protests in the Wake of the New Citizenship Law


New Delhi—Protests have erupted all across India following the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Law, known as CAB, in India. The Act will provide Indian nationality to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists fleeing persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh before December 31, 2014. As per the Act, such communities will not be treated as illegal immigrants now and will be given Indian citizenship.

The toll in the ongoing protests against the new citizenship law (CAA) rose to five in Assam with two more persons injured in police firing earlier this week succumbing to their wounds, even as the authorities on Sunday decided to further relax the curfew in this capital city amid gradual improvement in the law and order situation.

Two persons admitted with bullet injuries at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital perished on Saturday night and Sunday morning respectively, officials said.

While two people had died of bullet wounds during the protests on Thursday, the driver of an empty oil tanker died on Saturday morning due to burn injuries sustained after the vehicle was set afire at Dhekiajuli in Sonitpur district on Friday night.

On Sunday, curfew was relaxed in Assam’s biggest city of Guwahati and in some parts of Dibrugarh from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., said a senior police official, adding that it has also been relaxed in some parts of Dibrugarh for around eight hours since morning.

On Monday, the day curfew would be withdrawn at 6 AM and the night curfew imposed from 9 p.m. in Guwahati, an official said.

A Guwahati police officer said the situation was better than it was on Saturday.

“The situation is improving gradually. It is better than yesterday. I think the situation will further improve,” Guwahati Joint Commissioner of Police Debraj Upadhyay told IANS over phone.

Upadhyay said large number of security forces have been deployed to ensure there was no further violence.

“A lot of forces are there, and we are picking up miscreants, who have been identified,” Upadhyay said.

Meanwhile, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal called upon all sections of the society to thwart those who are misleading the people.

“We are committed to protect all genuine Indian citizens and the rights of the people of Assam. I call upon all sections of the society to thwart the elements who are misleading the people on #CAA and indulging in violence and together continue the growth journey of Assam,” Sonowal tweeted.

The Congress and the ruling BJP ally Asom Gana Parishad said they would move petitions in Supreme Court seeking revocation of the CAA.

As the curfews were relaxed, long queues were seen outside shops at several places, including Dispur, Uzan Bazar, Chandmari, Silpukhuri and Zoo Road in Guwahati.



Separately, The Delhi Minorities Commission has asked the Delhi Police to release the injured students of the Jamia Millia Islamia university late on Sunday night.

In a letter dated December 15, 2019, Chairman of Delhi Minorities Commission Zafarul-Islam Khan said: “The Delhi Minorities Commission orders SHO Kalkaji PS to release the injured students of the Jamia Millia University held at the said police station or to take them, without any delay, for treatment at a reputed hospital.”

“SHO Kalkaji PS will be personally responsible for any complications to the injuries of the held students,” the letter further read.

The Commission has also asked the SHO to file a compliance report by 3 p.m. on Monday at the Commission office and in failing to implement this order of the quasi-judicial authority appropriate action as deemed fit by the Commission will taken.

Agitating against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), a mob set afire a police post and targeted some vehicles at Kargil Chowk, here on Sunday.

According to Patna District Magistrate Kumar Ravi, the protesters were moving towards the Kargil Chowk from Ashok Rajpath when they were intercepted by the police.

They attacked a Vajra vehicle and pelted stones on the police, leaving around a dozen policemen injured, Ravi said. The police had to lob three rounds of tear gas to disperse the mob, he said.

An FIR has reportedly been registered at the Gandhi Maidan police station for organising a procession without permission and destroying public property.

The police is examining CCTV footage to identify the miscreants.

Protest erupted on the campus of Moulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), here on Sunday night, against the police ‘brutality’ on students of the Jamia Millia Islamia University and the Aligarh Muslim University.

Dozens of students of the country’s only Urdu university gathered on the campus around midnight and raised slogans against the police action on Jamia and AMU campuses. They expressed solidarity with the students of the two universities and demanded action against the policemen who entered the campuses and resorted to baton-charge on students.

With the flash protest by students, the university authorities and the police geared up to prevent any untoward incident. The students have reportedly decided to boycott the semester examinations, scheduled to begin on Monday.

The university has witnessed protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in the last couple of days.

A group of anti-Citizenship Act agitators turned violent and attacked the railway properties at a station in the southern suburb of the West Bengal capital on Sunday.

Five policemen, including a deputy superintendent of police (DSP) and the inspector-in-charge of Maheshtala police station, were injured in the violence.

The police had to lob tear gas shells and resort to baton charge to disperse the mob and bring the situation under control.

It all started at 10.30 a.m. when a group of protesters gathered on the railway track, blocking the movement of trains. The mob soon started pelting stones at trains.

The driver of the Budge Budge-bound Sealdah Local was forced out of his cabin. “Seeing a big crowd on tracks, I stopped the train. The mob asked me to get out of the cabin. When I informed my bosses, they told me to ensure my security first,” said the driver.

The mob then attacked the engine, smashed the window panes of coaches with rods, sticks and stones, and also started uprooting seats, eyewitnesses said.

Later, the mob ransacked the station superintendent’s office, attacked ticket booking counter and uprooted and threw the ticket vending machines on railway tracks. They also set afire the furniture, said an eyewitness.

Such was the mob fury that the terrified railway employees as well as the Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel had to hide in the toilet. “We all ran and hid ourselves in the toilet to save our lives,” said a railway commercial staff.

“Those were terrible moments. Everything at the station was being razed,” he said.

When the fire tenders arrived, they got stuck in the blockades put up outside the station. When the firemen could reach the spot, it was too late. (From wire services)


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