How are the students at Jamia University?
Protests by Indian students against naturalization rights escalate
New Delhi - In India, protests against police violence and a new immigration law expanded on Monday. Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and Lucknow are just a few of the cities where demonstrators took to the streets, and some clashes with the police occurred again. In Lucknow, for example, a few dozen people tried to storm a police station, as can be seen on television pictures. They threw stones at security guards who had holed up behind a wall.
The background to the current wave of protests is a new citizenship law that the ruling party BJP passed through parliament last week. Critics accuse the party of pursuing Hindu nationalist policies and discriminating against the 200 million Muslims in the country. Since last May she has governed with an absolute majority.
The new law provides that non-Muslim people from the neighboring states of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh should get citizenship in India in a simplified manner. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Interior Minister Amit Shah defended the law as a move to accommodate persecuted non-Muslims.
This was followed by serious clashes with police at Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi over the weekend, injuring at least 200 people. Finally, on Monday, many people across the country took to the streets in solidarity with the students.
Also in Kolkata in the north-east of the country, thousands of people took part in a protest march on Monday called by the regional government, which is extremely critical of Modi. Protesters set tires on fire on railroad tracks.
And also in the extreme northeast of the country, four people died from police bullets during protests. Protests had already broken out in Assam in the days before because the local population feared a wave of immigration from Bangladesh through the law. As a precaution, the Indian government had imposed an internet block on the state and relocated several soldiers from Kashmir to Assam.
States are fighting back
Meanwhile, several Indian states have announced that they will not apply the new law. They see it as a violation of the secular constitution of the country.
Modi accused the opposition Congress Party of inciting the unrest. Those who fueled the protests can be recognized by their clothing. Apparently he was alluding to Muslims.
The United Nations had raised concerns about the new law last week. Human rights groups and several Islamic parties want to challenge the new regulation before the Supreme Court. (red, APA, December 16, 2019)
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