Anti-Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 protests: 10 things you need to know

As President Ram Nath Kovind on December 13 gave his formal assent to the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, it has gathered high criticism from the national as well as the international community, the fundamental criticism being that it specifically targets Muslims. 

Here is a list of ten things you need to know about the protests: 

Citizenship Amendment Bill becomes law

President Ram Nath Kovind on December 13  gave his formal assent to the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, making it an Act. 

As earlier the Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha after a heated nine hour-long debate, on December 11, 2019, with 125 votes to 105. It was earlier introduced and passed in the Lower House of the Indian Parliament on December 9, 2019, by 311-80 votes.    

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CAA gathers criticism for supposedly being anti-Muslim

The Citizenship Amendment Act  has gathered high criticism from the national as well as the international community, the fundamental criticism being that it specifically targets Muslims, making the Bill in violation of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution which enshrines the Fundamental Right to equality. 
 

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Indian government claims to safeguard rights of persecuted minorities

The government however states that the constitutions of the three specific state religion countries does not protect the mentioned communities, leading them to face persecution on grounds of religion, which the Indian government wishes to safeguard them from by granting them immunity.  

Claiming that some of them also have fears about such persecution in their day-to-day life where right to practice, profess and propagate their religion has been obstructed and restricted. Many such persons have fled to India to seek shelter and continued to stay in India despite inadequate documentation. 

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Protests engulf Assam

Assam came to a standstill in an 11 hour statewide ‘bandh’ last Tuesday in protest against the Act. 

On Wednesday Guwahati and Dibrugarh were placed under indefinite curfew till further orders, with all flights to and from the region cancelled. 
 

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Four dead, 175 arrested, 1400 detained

Four people have lost their lives in police firing, 175 have been arrested and more than 1400 have been detained so far due to clashes erupting from Citizenship Amendment Act protests. 

Mobile internet services also stand suspended in ten districts and Assam Rifle troops have been deployed in the regions of Tripura and Assam. 

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Mamata Banerjee calls for 'peaceful' rally

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday appealed to the people of the state to protest against the “unconstitutional” CAA and NRC in a rally to be held on Monday in a “peaceful manner within the ambit of law”. 

Violent protests erupted in the state with internet services being shut down in six districts  with protesters torching buses, railways stations and vandalising public property along with incidents of loot and arson reported. 

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Dissent wave spreads to New Delhi

Students from Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi also staged protests against the Act. 

Protesters allegedly set ablaze four public buses and two police vehicles, injuring 60 people, including students, policemen and firefighters in New Friends Colony, near Jamia Millia Islamia. 

The Delhi police baton charged those protesting, fired tear gas to disperse the crowds and allegedly entered University grounds, including the library without authorisation. 

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Police releases detained after overnight student protests

The stretch between the university and Sukhdev Vihar metro station was converted into a deployed fortress with imposition of restriction on movement. 

Hundreds of students protested in front of old Delhi Police Headquarters at ITO against police action at the Jamia Millia University. 

The police in the early hours of Monday released as many as 50 students who were detained during the clashes.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia announced that all schools in the violence affected areas of South-East district are to remain closed on Monday. 

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Internet shutdown in parts of Uttar Pradesh, post protests

Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh staged protests in opposition to the Act, leading to shut down of internet services in the districts of Aligarh and Meerut. 
 

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What does CAA seek to do?

The Act seeks to grant Indian citizenship to undocumented religious minorities-namely Hindus, Sikh, Jain, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians from the neighbouring Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan who moved to the country before the date of December 31, 2014. 

The Act amends the Citizenship Act, 1955 which regulates who may acquire Indian citizenship and on what grounds by adding provisions for Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community in section 2, in sub-section (1), in clause (b) that they shall not be treated as illegal migrants. Illegal migrants are not eligible for Indian Citizenship. 
 

(Photograph:AFP)