Citizenship Act protests: Top developments
On December 9, the Lok Sabha passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill after a seven-hour-long debate with 334-106 votes.
On December 11, the Rajya Sabha approved the Citizenship Amendment Bill thus completing the legislative procedure for giving Indian citizenship to non-Muslims migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. The Bill was passed with 125-105 votes.
During the debate, Union home minister Amit Shah made a vehement pitch for the religiously persecuted people in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The opposition, on the other hand, demanded that the legislation be made religion-neutral.
“This bill is not even .001% against Muslims. It is against infiltrators,” Union home minister Amit Shah said during the debate in Parliament.
The controversial Act seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees belonging to Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Zorastrian communities coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan after facing religious persecution there.
On December 12, President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the Bill, turning into an Act.
The national capital witnessed violent clashes on Sunday evening between the students of Jamia Millia Islamia University and police after protests over the controversial Citizenship Act turned violent. In the ensuing clashes, several students were injured, buses were torched and dozens were detained. There were reports of protests in several other cities of the country and by the students of other universities as well.
Here is a look at the recent developments -:
A letter from the district magistrate of Aligarh that has been shared on Twitter by Internet shutdowns.in suggests that the suspension of internet services in the district will be in place till 10pm tonight, unless stated otherwise. The Section 144 has also been invoked in Aligarh to safeguard against the possibility of any communal conflict.
We’ll address the students plea; the violence needs to stop first: CJI
Senior advocate Indira Jaising mentioned Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University incidents before a bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde. Jaising asks SC to take suo motu cognizance of the issue saying’It’s a very serious human rights violation all over the country.’ “We will take up matter relating to alleged police atrocities on students in Delhi and Aligarh only if the violence, arson and damage to public property is stopped,” Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said.
Protests erupt in Assam’s Guwahati
Shortly after the passage of the Bill in Parliament, protests erupted in Assam following internet services were suspended and a curfew was clamped in several districts of the state. Thousands of people took to the streets and clashed with security forces leading to widespread destruction of public property. The Bill, now an Act, sparked resentment in the northeast as the locals feared that granting citizenship to foreign refugees will undermine the ethnic communities living in these regions.
Protests were also reported from other northeastern states, Sikkim, West Bengal, Ludhiana, Hyderabad and several cities in Uttar Pradesh.
Protests turn violent in Delhi
On December 13, students of Jamia Millia Islamia University were stopped by the police as they tried marching towards Parliament. Two days later, protests turned violent in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar area in which at least four buses and two motorcycles were torched. At least 50 people were injured in the protest, including cops. The police also detained at least 50 students who were later released.
The violence went on for an hour after which police retaliated with more than 50 rounds of teargas shells and lathi charge. While police maintained that it did not open fire, one of the protesters admitted in the Holy Family hospital was found to have a bullet injury in the leg.
Shortly after violent clashes in Jamia, hundreds of students from JNU and Jamia University staged a protest in front of Delhi Police Headquarters in the capital against the police “high-handedness”.
Protests in West Bengal and other parts of the country
The West Bengal state government has decided to shut down Internet services in Malda, Murshidabad, Howrah, North 24 Parganas and parts of South 24 Parganas districts to prevent rumor-mongering and circulation of fake news, especially on social media. The orders issued by the District Magistrate of Murshidabad clarify that the internet shutdown is after intelligence reports warned that web-based services and voice over internet telephony services may be used for unlawful activities in the district. “Despite several requests, a few communal outfits have been carrying out violent protests. In view of the situation, the administration has decided to temporarily suspend Internet services in five districts of the state,” an official told the media.
West Bengal remained on the edge for the second consecutive day as railway properties were set ablaze, staff attacked, houses torched and highways blocked on Sunday. Meanwhile, the death toll in Thursday’s police firing in Assam climbed to four after two more injured people succumbed to their injuries. As many as 26 people are in hospital with bullet injuries.
Protests were also reported from Moulana Azad National Urdu University in Hyderabad. Several districts in Uttar Pradesh remained tense and internet services have been shut down in six districts including Aligarh, Meerut, Saharanpur, and Varanasi. While students at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) clashed with the police late on Sunday night, students of the Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama, an Islamic seminary, were also out on the roads after midnight in support of the students in the Jamia Milia and AMU. At least 60 AMU students were injured in clashes following which the university administration announced the closure of university till January 5.