Citizenship Amendment Act protests LATEST Updates: Around 140 people were detained on Monday as fresh protests by students and activists against the amended citizenship law erupted in several parts of the national capital, even as police stepped up vigil to maintain the law and order situation ahead of Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Protests were held outside the Uttar Pradesh Bhawan, Rajghat, India Gate, Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), Assam Bhawan and Delhi University where people voiced their opposition to the controversial changes introduced in the law.
As many as 55 people have been arrested for their involvement in "acts of violence" during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Assam's Dibrugarh, ANI reported. The district saw large scale of protests against the contentious law since it was passed by the Parliament on 12 December.
In all, 75 cases have been registered against protesters.
Meanwhile, an FIR was registered against AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan over charges of "sharing an objectionable post" on social media against the Citizenship Amendment Act, ANI reported.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who joined the party's protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Delhi's Raj Ghat, slammed the Narendra Modi government at the Centre for the police action against students and activists over the last two weeks, when the nation has seen widespread protests against the contentious legislation.
Students rose in protest against CAA and the Delhi Police action in Jamia Milia Islamia university on 15 December.
"The enemies of the country made full effort to destroy the economy of the country, but what our enemies could not do, is now being done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today." he said.
Mamata Banerjee wrote to chief ministers and senior leaders belonging to Opposition parties, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, urging to them to unite and chalk out a plan to "save the country".
More than 100 people have been arrested and over 12,000 booked in three districts of Marathwada in connection with violence during protests against the amended Citizenship Act in the central Maharashtra region last week, officials said on Monday.
The anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protests on Friday were marred by stone pelting and damage to public and private property in the districts of Parbhani, Hingoli and Beed.
According to reports, 45 people have been arrested from their homes in Bihar's Aurangabad district since 21 December. The arrested have been jailed and have reportedly been booked for stone pelting. The offence has now been made non-bailable, said sources.
Senior Congress leaders including Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi read out sections of the Constitution at Rajghat in Delhi. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi was also present at the venue. Meanwhile, massive protests were held in various parts of Bengaluru with many Twitter users sharing images of the demonstrations.
Crowd has started gathering near Rajghat in Delhi. Senior Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh, along with other senior party leaders have reached Rajghat. Former Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken was also seen at the venue. Sonia has still not reached.
According to reports, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar was shown black flags by students of Jadavpur University. Dhankhar reached the University for their convocation ceremony. However, the Bengal Governor was welcomed by posters which said, "BJP activist Mr Jagdeep Dhankar Go back". According to ANI, the Governor could not get out of his car due to protesting students at the University.
Indian Medical Association, in a statement, strongly slammed the denial of access to medical assistance to detainees during the Daryaganj violence. The statement by IMA read: "There are disturbing reports from areas of protests and resistance that police have entered hospitals and at least in one case, the ICU. This is a new low in civic life of the nation but not entirely unexpected given the impunity which violence is heaped on doctors and hospitals. However, the difference this time is that it is the establishment which has lost its restraint." Noting the visuals from Mangaluru, where cops were seen barging inside ICU and violently entering hospitals, the statement further added, "No violence is acceptable in a hospital. Hospitals are sacrosanct and are exempted even in a war zone... What makes IMA react today is that disturbing reports of denial of access to medical care. The govt and its establishment have no right to deny anyone their right to access. The visuals of a policeman violently opening an ICU door by stomping is a clear indication of the New Truth and New Standards."
All India Student's Association's Delhi president Kawalpreet Kaur, along with 41 other suspected protesters, has been detained at the Mandir Marg police station. Speaking to Firstpost, Kaur said, "We weren't even protesting. No group had yet assembled for any protest. The police was rounding up random youths and people. I was in the auto when the cops chased me and detained me." According to Kaur, at least 41 people from UP Bhawan and Race Course Metro Station have been detained so far. Kaur further added that not more than 2 people were standing in groups in these areas, "but police still picked us up without any reason."
According to latest reports, the Calcutta High Court has directed the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government to remove all anti-Citizenship Amendment Act ads. Bengal chief minister and TMC leaders have been leading protests against the citizenship law in the state since Rajya Sabha passed the Bill on 11 December. Mamata, in fact, has vowed that she will not allow NRC to be implemented in the state.
The Bar Council of India (BCI) on Sunday issued a statement, condemning the acts of violence that have taken place in the wake of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and has passed a resolution appealing to the people to maintain peace and harmony. The statement received a lot of criticism online, especially microblogging site Twitter for describing a section of the protesters as “illiterate ignorant masses" and said that these 'masses' need to be convinced that “the matter with regard to CAA is under consideration of the Supreme Court”.
The Editors Guild of India criticised the violence inflicted due to police brutality in Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka during the anti- Citizenship Amendment Act protests. The Guild in a statement said that "Use of force or physical violence against journalists on duty throttles the very voice of democracy and media freedom." It further urged home minister Amit Shah to offer 'adequate protection' to journalists covering these protests.
According to Delhi President of All India Student's Association Kawalpreet Kaur's Twitter, she has been "brutally assaulted" by Delhi police and is picked up from UP Bhawan. Her tweet said, "We are only 4 women protestors inside the bus. We don't know where they are taking us."
The district administration has constituted a special investigation cell to probe cases of violence during the protests against the amended citizenship law, police said on Monday. The cell will comprise 18 police personnel, including 13 inspectors. Superintendent of Police (Crime) RB Chaurasia said the special cell has started investigating 24 cases registered in connection with the violence on 20 December. The cases are registered against 262 people of whom 48 have been arrested, he said.
At a late-night hearing on Sunday, the Madras High Court granted permission to an anti-CAA rally of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) to be held in Chennai on Monday. Speaking to reporters after the order, DMK president MK Stalin claimed that the high court allowed the party to hold the rally.
Amid nationwide agitations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the Congress, led by party chief Sonia Gandhi, has decided to stage a silent protest at Rajghat on Monday afternoon demanding protection for the Constitution and the rights of people as enshrined in it. Demonstrations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act continued on Sunday in various parts of the country though no major incidents of violence were reported. A total of 23 people have died during protests — including 17 in Uttar Pradesh, 2 in Mangaluru and 4 in Assam since the legislation passed.
In Bengaluru, a 31-year-old man was allegedly attacked with sharp weapons by a group while returning from a demonstration in support of the CAA, police said, adding his condition was stable and that they were examining CCTV footage to track the assailants.
Meanwhile, the BJP launched its counter-campaign to rally support for the contentious law which has been dubbed as "divisive" by the Opposition.
No discussions on nationwide NRC, claims Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing a rally in Delhi on Sunday, slammed parties opposing the CAA insisting that the legislation passed by Parliament aims at the betterment of minorities without a bias on the basis of religion.
Significantly, he also claimed that India has no detention centres and that ever since his government first came to power in 2014, no discussions had been held on a nationwide NRC.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a rally at Ramlila Maidan, in New Delhi. PTI
Other leaders of the BJP also sought to counter the claims made by the Opposition and those who have been protesting against the CAA. Many top BJP leaders, including Union ministers, defended the CAA at events organised by the party in several the states. Union minister Nitin Gandkari addressed an event backed by the RSS in Nagpur, while BJP working president JP Nadda was in Indore.
A rally in favour of the law was organised by the BJP, RSS and affiliated organisations was held at the Town Hall. Local MP Tejasvi Surya led the demonstration.
"Only 10 to 20 percent people in the country are opposing the CAA. Congress leaders should think what would happen to it (the party) when 80 percent of the people will decide to support the CAA and hit the streets?" BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said at a "thanksgiving" programme organised by the BJP in Indore in Madhya Pradesh in support of the CAA, which was also attended by Nadda.
Uttar Pradesh deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma blamed "outsiders" for the violence during anti-CAA protests, which have claimed 17 lives in the state over the past few dayse. Sharma claimed authorities suspect that the culprits are linked to Islamic outfits PFI and SIMI.
"There is involvement of Popular Front of India (PFI). They have connection with SIMI. Six people from Malda (in West Bengal) have been arrested," he said. Students Islamic Movement of India or SIMI is a banned terror outfit. Sharma said that 62 police personnel suffered injuries due to firearms during the violent protests. "About 500 empty cartridges of prohibited bore have been found. This indicates that the protesters were using illegal weapons," he said.
Opposition questions PM's claim, lead protests
Opposition leaders questioned Modi's claim that the government has no plans to conduct a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) and pointed to previous statements by home minister Amit Shah.
Shah on 20 November, without giving any time frame, had announced in Parliament that the government would implement the NRC across India.
Opposition leaders, including West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Congress' Jairam Ramesh, Digvijaya Singh, AIMIM's Asaddudin Owaisi, reacted sharply to the prime minister's comments at a rally in New Delhi's Ramlila Maidan.
Mamata Banerjee, who was recently criticised for her reported statement saying that there should be a "referendum" on the NRC and CAA has slammed Narendra Modi and Amit Shah for "contradictions" in their statements.
Protests against the amended citizenship law were organised by the Congress, Left and other parties and outfits. Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot led a peace march in Jaipur on Sunday and said his government will neither implement citizenship amendment act (CAA) nor national register of citizens (NRC) in the state. He said that 8-9 states, including Bihar and Odisha, have said that they will not implement NRC.
In West Bengal, state minister and state president of Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind Siddiqullah Chowdhury threatened that Union Home Minister Amit Shah will not be allowed to step out of the airport when he visits the city, if the law is not immediately withdrawn.
"We may not allow him (Shah) to step out of the city airport if necessary. We may gather one lakh people there to stop him," he said at a Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind rally against the CAA at Rani Rasmoni Avenue in Kolkata.
Around 500 members of Islamic outfits and scores of CPI activists staged demonstrations in Chennai on Sunday as protests continued against the Citizenship Amendment Act in parts of Tamil Nadu.
While members of the Islamic outfits, including women, staged a protest holding placards in Chepauk, CPI cadres distributed pamphlets in Thousand Lights area.
In Madurai, activists of Campus Front of India and an Islamic outfit were booked for staging a protest against the CAA on Saturday without taking permission, police said
"We have booked cases against around 2,000 members, including those from Campus Front of India and another Muslim outfit", a senior police officer told PTI.
The fight against the new citizenship law is "not just the issue of Muslims" but concerns all Indians and there should be a sustained struggle against the legislation, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi said late Saturday night at a meeting organised by the United Muslim Action Committee, an umbrella body of various Muslim groups at Darussalam, the headquarters of AIMIM in Hyderbad.
Protesters display placards and raise slogans demanding withdrawal of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) during a demonstration in Bengaluru. PTI
UP authorities crack down on violent protesters
Uttar Pradesh authorities began a crackdown on vandals, sealing 67 shops in Muzaffarnagar and identifying the culprits in various violence-affected districts through video footage.
Inspector General (Kanpur range) Mohit Agarwal said that the role of AIMIM workers and SIMI activists was being suspected behind Saturday's violence. "Cases have been registered against a large number of SIMI workers," he said.
Police said the situation remained by and large peaceful in the state capital and other districts like Meerut, Firozabad, Kanpur and Bijnor. Internet services have been suspended in several areas till Monday, while prohibitory orders remained in force across the state.
Curfew lifted for 12 hours in Mangaluru
Curfew clamped in Mangaluru in Karnataka in the aftermath of the violent protests on 19 December was lifted on Sunday for 12 hours from 6 am, as no untoward incident was reported from the city.
The Karnataka government announced an ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh each to the families of the two men killed in police firing during protests in Manguluru on Thursday.
Janata Dal-S leader and former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy visited the families of the two men at Kudroli and handed over a cheque of Rs five lakh each to them on behalf of his party.
The law grants Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, who have come to India till 31 December, 2014.
With inputs from PTI