NEW DELHI, Dec 13 (KUNA) — Several parts of India were rocked on Friday by massive protests against newly enacted Citizenship Amendment Act.
North eastern states especially Assam and Meghalaya and capital New Delhi, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala witnessed popular protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act which came into force after President Ram Nath Kovind gave his approval on Thursday.
It was passed by both the Houses of Parliament earlier this week. In Assam five people were killed during the protests and several dozens were injured so far.
Train and flight services were largely cancelled or disrupted to and from the state amid reports that the central government has dispatched more security forces to bring the situation under control.
In New Delhi, students of Jamia Millia Islamiyya staged protests and clashed with the security forces.
The police lathi-charged the protesters and used grande and tear gas against the students in addition to detaining at least 50 students.
Several cities in West Bengal, where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has categorically rejected the central government move and expressed her refusal to implement the Act, erupted in protest against the Act. Meanwhile, UNHRC and Amnesty International and several countries including the US and France have expressed their concerns over the discriminatory nature of the Act and called upon the forces to observe maximum restrain when handling the protesters.
Indian Parliament on Wednesday adopted the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill paving the way to grand Indian citizenship to prosecuted religious groups in the neighboring countries Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
However, the Muslims were excluded. Indian Home Minister Amit Shah had told the Parliament: “The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019, will give a new ray of hope to persons belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have migrated to India after facing persecution on the ground of religion in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.”
He also upheld the Constitution of India saying it is the only religion that Modi government follows.
“The Bill is aimed at giving a dignified life to these people who had suffered religious persecution for decades by granting Indian citizenship to them, if they fulfill conditions for grant of citizenship,” he added.
He also assured the Muslims in India saying this bill does not target India’s minority community.
The current bill has spread panic among Indian Muslims as they fear that the right-wing government is targeting them through this bill along with the proposed nation-wide National Register of Citizens of India (NRC) to hunt down the illegal immigrants.
Non-Muslims excluded from the proposed NRC would be protected through the current Citizenship Amendment Bill while inability of Muslims to prove their citizenship will have to face deportation or jail.