India’s protests against citizenship law: All the latest updates

Indians defy curbs, internet blocks to protest as anger over a new ‘anti-Muslim’ law grows.

[Danish Siddiqui/Reuters]
[Danish Siddiqui/Reuters]

Mass protests against a contentious citizenship law continue across India amid fears the legislation is part of the Hindu nationalist government’s agenda to marginalise the country’s 200 million Muslims.

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed last week grants citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Christians from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh but blocks naturalisation for Muslims.

Critics say the law – similar to United States President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban – goes against the spirit of India’s secular constitution.

Here are the latest updates:

Friday, December 20

Six killed in Uttar Pradesh: Official

Six people were killed during protests in northern India’s Uttar Pradesh state, a local official said, amid continued demonstrations against the CAA.

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OP Singh, Uttar Pradesh’s director general of police, claimed that none of the deaths had occurred due to police violence, however. “We did not fire even a single bullet,” Indian broadcaster NDTV quoted Singh as saying.

Read more here.

Gatherings banned, internet cut

Police banned public gatherings in parts of New Delhi and other cities for a third consecutive day, while officials also cut internet services to try to stop the protests.

Despite the moves, thousands of protesters stood inside and on the steps of New Delhi’s Jama Masjid, one of India’s largest mosques, after Friday afternoon prayers, waving Indian flags and shouting slogans against the government and the citizenship law.

Critics say the CAA is contrary to the spirit of India’s secular constitution [Danish Siddiqui/Reuters]

Previous updates

One person killed in Lucknow

At least one person died during the violent protests in the Uttar Pradesh state capital of Lucknow as police struggled to disperse protesters. Three were injured.

Stone-throwing protesters clashed with police and set fire to vehicles in Lucknow, where orders prohibiting gatherings of more than five people are in place.

Two killed in Mangaluru: Report

Two people have died of injuries suffered in violent protests in the southern Indian city of Mangaluru, hospital officials said.

They said that at least one of the two dead had been shot.

Local government official Sindhu Rupesh said there had been clashes between stone-throwing crowds and police in Mangaluru since Thursday afternoon, despite restrictions imposed on public gatherings

Hundreds detained

Police detained hundreds of people in Delhi and the southern city of Bengaluru and shut down the internet in some districts.

In the eastern state of Bihar, a senior police official said more than 200 protesters detained in a police campus in Patna were chanting slogans against the law, but they would not be silenced by force.

In the financial capital Mumbai, more than 5,000 protesters gathered, forcing the police to impose traffic restrictions.

Read more here.

In Pictures: Pan-India citizenship law protests

Hundreds of protesters were detained across India as people defied bans on assembly to protest against new citizenship law. See the photo gallery here.

IndiGo cancels 19 flights from New Delhi

IndiGo, India’s biggest airline by market share, has cancelled 19 flights from New Delhi as road traffic disruption caused by protests in the capital affects the availability of its crew, a Delhi airport official said.

A further 16 flights are delayed.

“Due to traffic restrictions and to accommodate passengers reaching late to the airport, we have rescheduled and curtailed our schedule in and out of Delhi by approximately 20 departures,” IndiGo said in a statement, adding that this accounts for about 10 percent of its total flights out of the capital.

Mobile services cut in parts of Indian capital

Two major Indian telecom firms have said they have cut mobile services in parts of New Delhi on government orders.

Vodafone and Airtel announced they had cut services on mobiles while a third operator Jio is reported to have followed suit.

India is already the world leader in cutting the internet, activists say, and access has been restricted in parts of the northeast and in Uttar Pradesh, home to a large Muslim minority.

Hyderabad police detain protesters

In the southern city of Hyderabad, people were seen being loaded into police buses.

It was not clear where they were taken as police detain more than 100 protesters in key Indian cities as they defied a ban on protests.

A protester detained by police in the southern city of Hyderabad [Mahesh Kumar A/AP]

Crackdown on peaceful protests must stop: Amnesty

Rights group Amnesty India has asked the federal and state governments across India to stop the crackdown on the peaceful protests against what it called a “discriminatory” citizenship law.

“The CAA is a bigoted law that legitimises discrimination on the basis of religion. The people of the country have the right to protest against this law peacefully and express their views,” said Avinash Kumar, the group’s executive director.

Delhi Metro Rail stations shut, chaos on streets

As many as 14 Delhi Metro Rail stations were shut, including one near the Delhi police headquarters, besieged by protesters earlier this week.

Some roads into the megacity were blocked, causing immense traffic jams.

Police ban protests in New Delhi

Police have banned protests in New Delhi and several state capitals in an effort to contain growing dissatisfaction over the new citizenship law.

Protesters defied the ban and are holding a demonstration at New Delhi’s iconic Red Fort and surrounding historic district.

Big protests in India amid restrictions

Big rallies are being held across India as the tumultuous and angry reaction builds against a citizenship law seen as discriminatory against the country’s 200 million Muslims.

Police refused a march permit for one of two large demonstrations planned in New Delhi, officials said. Organisers said they planned to march anyway.

Read more here.

Leading historian detained in Bengaluru

India’s leading historian Ramchandra Guha is among dozens detained in the southern city of Bengaluru during a protest against the citizenship law.

Guha was participating in a protest at the city’s Town Hall where a ban on large gatherings has been imposed. “I am protesting non-violently, but look they are stopping us,” he said as news channels showed footage of him being dragged by three policemen.

Source : Al Jazeera

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