Alexa Protests over India`s citizenship law on 5th day

Dhaka, Saturday   25 January 2020


Protests over India`s citizenship law on 5th day

 International Desk

 Published: 02:59 PM, 16 December 2019  

Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

Police have clashed with protesters in several Indian cities as demonstrations against the new law on illegal migrants entered the fifth day. There are large protests in the capital Delhi as well as in Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), news BBC.

On Sunday, police used tear gas and detained protesters, as buses were torched and roads blocked.

The new law entitles citizenship to some non-Muslim migrants from three Muslim-majority countries.

But people are divided on why they have taken to the streets.

Some critics say the law is anti-Muslim, while others - especially in border regions - fear large-scale migration.

The protests - which have left six people dead - began in Assam on Thursday, before spreading to other parts of northern and eastern India.

Authorities have tried to curb the protests by shutting down internet services. However, students at universities across the country resumed demonstrations on Monday.

In Kolkata, tens of thousands of people have joined a demonstration led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her ruling Trinamool Congress party.

Further demonstrations are expected in a number of other cities.

Several lawyers asked the Supreme Court to intervene, pointing out that officers had assaulted students in bathrooms, but the chief justice said that the court would not take any action until students ceased their protests.

The UK, US and Canada have issued travel warnings for people visiting India's north-east, telling their citizens to "exercise caution" if travelling to the region.

On Monday morning, protests resumed in Delhi's prestigious Jamia Millia Islamia university after students held a march which ended in clashes with the police on Sunday.

Around 35 students were detained by police on Sunday and released early on Monday morning.

The university's vice chancellor, Najma Akhtar, condemned the police action on Monday and told reporters that they would be filing a court case against the police and demanding a high-level inquiry.

She also denied rumours of student deaths.

It is still unclear who started the violence but stones were thrown at the police who retaliated with tear gas.

Local media reported that nearly 60 people, including students and police, were injured. At least three buses and several motorcycles were set on fire. Students distanced themselves from the violence and some police officers privately admitted that local troublemakers were behind the trouble, the BBC's Kinjal Pandya reported.

The university said police later entered the campus without permission and video footage showed police assaulting students and staff.

Videos shot by students show police beating up students inside campus areas like bathrooms and the library.

Police have said that they did what was "necessary" to stop the protests.

Some schools in southern Delhi have been asked to remain closed on Monday.

Hundreds of people also protested in other parts of the city, including in Jawaharlal Nehru University and outside the city's police headquarters.

"Public properties are being destroyed, buses are being burned. We will take cognizance, but all this has to stop," Chief Justice Sharad Bobde said.

He added that the court was not against the peaceful demonstration, but that "this atmosphere must settle down".

"If protests and violence continue, we will not hear a case on this."

The chief justice also criticized the student protesters, saying that they could not "take the law into their own hands".

"The court can't do anything right now. Let the riots stop," he said.

Live footage from the northern city of Lucknow on Monday showed students at Nadwa university throwing stones at security forces, who retaliated by throwing the stones back at them.

The students have been locked inside the campus.

Local television footage also showed officers hitting students with large sticks.

The situation remains tense and more protests are expected. Students at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology in the southern city of Chennai (formerly Madras) have already announced a protest this afternoon.

And students in Delhi University have announced that they are boycotting examinations in solidarity.