Citizenship Amendment Act protests LATEST updates: Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) chief and actor Kamal Haasan met the students of the Madras University in Chennai who are protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act for the last two days.
"There are efforts to silence the voices of around 800 students. I have come here to lend my face as their podium and my vocal cords as their microphone. I will keep voicing (objections) regardless of whether I have started a political party or not. Now that I have a party, it becomes my duty to be here and voice. All over India, these kind of voices are rising, and you cannot silence them," he said to reporters.
India Today reported that he was not allowed inside the campus.
West Bengal governor J Dhankhar on Wednesday said that he was "pained" by the "deep sense of fear" over the Citizenship Amendment Act in the Malda and Murshidabad areas of the state, which have seen several protests since the contentious bill was passed by both Houses of Parliament.
In criticism of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's objection and resistance against the Act, Dhankar said, "An elected government is fully bound by the law of the land. The chief minister (Mamata Banerjee) took an oath to act according to the Constitution, and this law (Citizenship Amendment Act ) is part of the Constitution."
"The Citizenship Amendment Act has nothing to do with Indian citizens, it deals only with foreigners," Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik said while reiterating the BJD's support for the contentious law against which nationwide protests have broken out for almost 10 days.
However, the party chief said that all MPs of the party in both Houses had "made it clear" that they didn't support the National Register of Citizens (NRC), which is the exercise that is being paired with the CAA by critics of the law which will allow non-Muslim refugees of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh to apply for Indian citizenship.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hit the streets for the third consecutive day against the amended citizenship law and NRC. Accompanied by thousands of people, Banerjee began the protest march from Howrah Maidan which will culminate at Dorina Crossing at Esplanade in the heart of Kolkata. "We will never allow NRC and the amended Citizenship Act in Bengal. No one will be asked to leave the state," she said.
She asked Shah to ensure that the country does not burn over the amended citizenship law, adding that his job is to “douse the fire”. “BJP says they aim at ‘Sabka saath, sabka vikas’ (everyone’s development), but in reality, what they have done is ‘sabke saath sarvanash’ (everyone’s destruction),” she said. Asking Shah to control his party cadres and blaming the BJP of wanting to turn the entire country into a detention centre, Mamata said that she will not let this happen.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami defended his party's support to the amendment to the Citizenship Act in Parliament saying the law will not affect any Indian, to whichever religion one may belong.
JD(U) chief HD Kumaraswamy said that his party opposes both the Citizenship Act and National Register of Citizens. Congress' UT Khader said that while the country is in flames, Karnataka is an island of peace. He warned that if the Act is implemented in Karnataka, the state will be "blown up into cinders".
Renowned Urdu humourist and writer Mujtaba Hussain announced returning of Padma Shri award to the government in protest against Citizenship Amendement Act.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal denied the BJP's accusation regarding the Aam Aadmi Party government's failure in maintaining law and order in the national capital. He said that only those fearing defeat in the upcoming Delhi Assembly elections are inciting riots.
DMK chief MK Stalin said that all Opposition parties will hold a protest in Chennai against the Citizenship Act on 23 December. Speaking to reporters after an all-party meeting held at the DMK headquarters and chaired by him, Stalin said that the parties called for the revocation of the law.
BJD, which voted in favor of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Parliament, will not support NRC in Odisha, said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. He clarified that Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs had clarified in the Houses that while the Citizenship Act deals with foreigners, NRC deals with Indian citizens
BSP MP Satish Chandra Mishra, after meeting President Ram Nath Kovind, said that the delegation of party leaders urged the latter to revoke Citizenship Act, which is in violation of Articles 14 and 21.
The Maharashtra Assembly witnessed an uproar when the opposition BJP objected to senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan's comments that the amended Citizenship Act should not be implemented in the state. Protest against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens outside Jamia Millia Islamia University entered the third day.
The Delhi High Court agreed to hear a PIL seeking the setting up of a fact- finding committee to look into the recent violence at Jamia Milia Islamia University. It also sought proper medical treatment and compensation for the injured students.
Guwahati Peasants’ leader Akhil Gogoi was brought to the NIA headquarters on Tuesday night. Gogoi, arrested under the stringent UAPA amid protests over the citizenship law, was sent to 10-day NIA custody. Curfew was relaxed for 14 hours in Shillong on Wednesday even as the ban on mobile internet services remained in force.
The Supreme Court of India has issued a notice to Centre as it admitted a bunch of petitions challenging the Citizenshp Amendment Act. The court has, however, refused to stay the law as enacted by the Parliament.
Kafeel Khan, the doctor who hit the headlines in Gorakhpur after the death of 60 children in the BRD hospital in 2017, has now been booked for allegedly giving a provocative speech at the open talk in Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.
Six people have been arrested by the Delhi Police in connection with the incident of violence and stone-pelting in Seelampur on Tuesday, ANI reported. Raids are being conducted to apprehend some other people who have also been identified. Delhi Police had filed three FIRs in connection with the violence in Jaffrabad and Brijpuri.
No fresh incident of violence over amended citizenship law was reported in West Bengal, police said. However, a senior police officer and two other personnel were injured when a group of agitators hurled crude bombs at them in Sankrail area of Howrah district on Tuesday night.
Former Congress MLA Asif Khan has been named as an accused in the FIR for his alleged involvement in the Jamia Millia Islamia incident that took place on 15 December.
The recently enacted Citizenship Amendment Act will adversely impact people of Assam and the northeast, an association representing the Assamese community in North America said. In a letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Assam Association of North America urged that the Assam Accord of 1985 be implemented in its entirety, where it should prevail over the Act in case of any conflict.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee would lead two more rallies against the amended Citizenship Act in Kolkata on Thursday and Friday. Meanwhile, the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union claimed that a police post was being set up in the varsity's premises and that police personnel were entering campus like they had done at Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University.
Slamming the BJP-led central government over the Citizenship Act and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said that if the NRC is implemented, then he will be the first person not to sign it. On the other hand, Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari clarified the Citizenship Act has nothing to do with the Muslims living in India.
Sharing a video of a stone-pelting incident in Delhi, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh asked if Home Minister Amit Shah gave the cops the permission to so the same. He criticised the government for pelting stones, when that is what they criticised the Kashmiris for.
Petitions against Citizenship Amendment Act will come up for hearing in Supreme Court at around 11.30 am. The petitions have been filed by various political parties, including Congress, Indian Union Muslim League and Trinamool Congress. Former bureaucrats, NGOs and students are among the other petitioners.
Violent clashes broke out in the Delhi on Tuesday as students, Opposition leaders and activists across the country stepped up their protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019, even as the government asserted it is "firm" on the implementation of the contentious law, and the Supreme Court refused a plea to set up an inquiry panel to probe the violence.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the "Congress and its friends" of spreading lies over the new law and asked students to try and analyse whether they were being made accomplices in a "conspiracy" where "urban Naxals" and others were “using their shoulders” to serve their own interests.
As fresh protests erupted across campuses and on streets in various regions and several Opposition parties demanded the withdrawal of what they called an "unconstitutional and divisive" law, Home Minister Amit Shah said there was no question of going back on its implementation and expressed confidence about the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) standing legal scrutiny.
"We are as firm as a rock on its implementation," he said.
Shah also said action being taken only against those engaging in vandalism and arson during protests and not against students opposing the CAA. He also directed Delhi Police to ensure peace in the National Capital.
According to police, at least 29 people have been arrested for violent clashes over the last couple of days in Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) and in parts of Uttar Pradesh, while two FIRs were registered in connection with Tuesday's violence during a protest in Delhi’s Seelampur and Jafrabad areas that left 21 people, including 12 policemen, injured.
Reportedly, protesters in Seelampur torched motorbikes, pelted stones at police personnel and damaged buses and a police booth, while police resorted to baton charge and fired tear gas shells to disperse the protesters. The situation was brought under control after a stand-off that continued for about one-and-a-half hour, police officials said, while blaming the clashes on a "hidden mob" that swelled to 4,000 to 5,000 people.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, BJP's East Delhi MP Gautam Gambhir and Seelampur's AAP MLA Haji Ishraq appealed to people to maintain peace and distance themselves from violence.
Braving the winter temperatures, thousands of people poured into the streets near Jamia Millia Islamia for a peaceful protest. Holding the Tricolour and placards, they raised slogans like "Azaadi (freedom) from atrocities" and formed human chains, while some women-led groups took out marches in the narrow lanes of nearby residential areas.
Schoolchildren held out placards saying "we want justice" as their buses drove through the area.
A group of injured Jamia Millia Islamia students also held a press conference along with some activists and alleged "barbaric" beatings, abuse, and humiliation by the police during their crackdown on those protesting against the new law on Sunday.
Addressing a press conference along with some activists, one Jamia student said he had been beaten "mercilessly" when he was studying in the library along with 25 others, including 10-12 girls, while several others also alleged that many were injured in the police action in Jamia as well as in Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).
Jamia vice-chancellor Najma Akhtar on Tuesday sent a report to the Human Resource Development Ministry detailing the sequence of events about the police action in campus, PTI reported, adding that no formal request has been received for ordering a high-level inquiry.
On Tuesday, despite nationwide protests, the Supreme Court declined to set up a committee of a retired apex court judge to inquire into the incidents of violence in different parts of the country since Sunday and asked the petitioners to approach respective high courts.
The police said it has arrested 10 people with criminal background for Sunday's violence near Jamia Millia Islamia, but none of them are students. The police had on Sunday detained around 50 students, who were released later.
The university had virtually turned into a battlefield on Sunday as police entered the campus and also used force, leading to violence and arson in which four DTC buses, 100 private vehicles and 10 police bikes were damaged.
A senior MHA official said the police did not fire any bullet on protesters near Jamia on Sunday, but an empty cartridge was found in the area.
Under the new citizenship law, all but Muslims who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till 31 December 2014, can be given Indian citizenship.
Protests are being held across the country ever since the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, was introduced in the Parliament earlier this month for this law.
A section of the students of the Madras University also continued their protest for the second day on Tuesday against the amendment to the Citizenship Act, even as police entered the campus.
Defiant students said they will continue their agitation "through the night".
While police personnel who entered the campus said they were for the "safety of the students", the protesters alleged two of the students were picked up by the police.
Police sources told PTI that two students have been called for questioning over allegedly inciting students of affiliated colleges to join the stir at the varsity's Marina campus.
The varsity, according to the about 50 protesting students, has declared holiday till 2 January.
"Today, they declared holiday till 23 December, the university is anyway scheduled to close for Christmas holidays from 24 December till 2 January... declaring a holiday now till 23 December is only to stifle our protest," one of the coordinators and a PG political science student, K Ragu Prasath told PTI.
The coordinator claimed that the two students are "under the custody of police".
Fresh protests took place on Tuesday in Kerala, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Maharashtra, West Bengal and several other parts of the country as well.
In Hyderabad, students from the Osmania University and the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) held protests against CAA and police action in Jamia Milia Islamia. They raised slogans against the BJP government and Delhi Police like, "We want Justice", "Want Democracy, Not Dictatorship", among others.
In Gujarat, protesters gathered outside the Sabarmati Ashram with anti-CAA placards.
In Kerala, stones were hurled at state transport buses, shops were forcibly closed and protest marches were held in support of a dawn-to-dusk hartal, while over 200 people were taken into preventive custody.
In Tamil Nadu, DMK president MK Stalin called the new law "hasty and autocratic" and alleged the BJP-led Centre's objective was not India's progress but trampling the rights of Muslims.
The curfew was lifted in Assam’s Guwahati following an improvement in the law and order situation. Curfew was relaxed in Shillong too.
In West Bengal, protesters blocked roads and railway tracks. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, in a rally on Tuesday, said that the BJP cannot bully the states into enforcing the law.
In Uttar Pradesh, officials said 26 people, including eight students, were arrested in connection with the AMU violence, have been released on personal bonds.
However, 19 people were arrested in the Mau area of the state for violence on Monday night after the police action in Jamia. On Tuesday, scattered protests were held in the state with no report of any violence. The police have detained 113 people for allegedly trying to vitiate atmosphere with their posts on social media.
Opposition leaders also knocked on the doors of President Ram Nath Kovind urging him to intervene on the issue of violence in central universities and advised the Modi government to withdraw the "unconstitutional and divisive" citizenship amendment law.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who led the delegation, alleged the Modi government was "shutting down" people's voices and bringing legislations which are not acceptable to them.
Separately addressing a meet of vice-chancellors and directors of central universities, Kovind asked them to ensure that higher educational institutes emerge as spaces that nurture free expression and ideas. The government officials maintained that the situation in 42 central universities, except the two, was peaceful.
Meanwhile, BJP and ABVP workers also staged demonstrations at some places to support the new law.