Citizenship Amendment Act protests LIVE updates: Union Minister of State for Railways, Suresh Angadi, spoke regarding the damage to property that has occured during the nationwide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill. He said, 'I strictly warn concerned district administration and railway authorities, if anybody destroys public property, including railway, I direct as a minister, shoot them at sight...'
Citizenship Amendment Act protests Latest updates: Union Minister of State for Railways, Suresh Angadi, spoke regarding the damage to property that has occured during the nationwide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill. He said, "I strictly warn concerned district administration and railway authorities, if anybody destroys public property, including railway, I direct as a minister, shoot them at sight..."
Police have entered the Madras University campus as protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act were underway on Tuesday evening, reports said. The Indian Express also reported that two of the students were taken into police custody. The report also said that students claimed that the police had demanded that the protest be stopped for the students to be released.
India Today reported that students inside the campus were protesting against the contentious legislation.
Delhi's Saket Court on Tuesday remanded all the six accused in the violence that broke out in the Jamia Millia Islamia university on Sunday, to 14-day judicial custody, ANI reported.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi slammed the Narendra Modi government and said that the Delhi Police action in Jamia Milia Islamia was an example of the deteriorating situation of peace in the country as nationwide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act continue.
"We have an example in Delhi where the police entered the Jamia women hostel and dragged them out, the force mercilessly beat students.I think you all have seen that Modi government seems to have no compassion when it comes to shutting down people's voices and implement legislation," she said.
Sonia Gandhi and a delegation of the party's senior leaders on Tuesday met President Ram Nath Kovind over the nationwide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, Gandhi said, "The situation is very serious and we are very anguished at the manner in which the police has dealt with peaceful protesters."
She also accused the Centre of shutting down people's voices and bringing legislations which are not acceptable to the electorate, PTI reported.
Union home minister Amit Shah, while addressing a poll rally in Jharkhand on Tuesday, stood by the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act and "reiterated" that the law was not against any minority of the country. He also slammed the Opposition for "misleading" the public.
"The entire Opposition is misleading the people of country. I reiterate that there is no question of taking away the citizenship of any person from any minority community. There is no such provision in the bill."
The Delhi Metro on Tuesday tweeted that the entry and exit gates of six stations had been shut in light of new violence over the Citizenship Amendment Act in the National Capital.
Entry and exit gates of Johri Enclave, Shiv Vihar, Seelampur, Gokulpuri, Jaffrabad, and Maujpur-Babarpur have been are closed. "Trains will not be halting at these stations," the tweet said.
In fresh violence, angry protesters demanding scrapping of the amended citizenship law clashed with police, pelted stones at them and damaged several buses in Northeast Delhi's Seelampur area. Police resorted to baton charges and fired tear gas shells on the protesters who were marching from Seelampur towards Jafrabad.
Painting the new citizenship law as a humanitarian gesture, Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a poll rally in Jharkhand assures the people that people of no religion will face any threat under this act. "I have said this before and I say it again, CAA will have no effect on the citizenship of any person of any religion." Accusing the Congress of spreading lies, PM adds, "They are spreading lies, they are spreading violence. Congress is instigating Muslims for political gains"
Condemning the violence at Jamia Millia University in Delhi, the CM said the "torture meted out to the students at the varsity was unprecedented".
The Bench opines that it is not feasible to appoint one committee to look into the protests, given the nature of the matter and dispute and the vast area over which the matter is spread. Supreme Court directs the petitioners to approach the High Courts within whose jurisdiction the incidents have occurred. The Supreme Court says that the High Court may appoint former judges of the Supreme Court to conduct inquiry after hearing the Union of India and the concerned state government.
As the Supreme Court Bench, comprising CJI SA Bobde and Justices BR Gavai and Suryakant, began hearing the pleas against the protests at the Jamia Millia Islamia, seeking that FIRs not be filed in the case and action be taken against the Delhi Police.
Delhi-based lawyer Mehmood Pracha says before the Bench that in the absence of the Supreme Court's intervention, the situation "will spiral further", even though incidents of violence have stopped.
Senior counsel Indira Jaising begins her submissions, bringing the Court's attention to the relief sought in the petition filed by Vaibhav Mishra and others. She argued that if peace is to be maintained, FIRs cannot be filed innocent students.
The Supreme Court of India refused to entertain a PIL seeking that minority communities be defined on the basis of state-wise population data instead of national data. It, however, admitted a plea seeking a CBI or a court-monitored probe in the violence unleashed during CAA protests and the resulting police action.
Ten people with criminal backgrounds have been arrested in connection with the 15 December violence in the Jamia Millia Islamia incident. No student has been arrested, reports said.
The curfew imposed in Guwahati on 11 December in the wake of protests against the citizenship law was lifted on Tuesday, officials said. In Dibrugarh, the curfew has been relaxed for 14 hours from 6 am on Tuesday, they said.
Senior Congress leader AK Antony said on Monday that Opposition leaders will meet President Ram Nath Kovind under the leadership of party chief Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday to lodge their protest against the government over police action against students of the Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University who were protesting against Citizenship Amendment Act.
Protests both violent and peaceful erupted across India on Monday against the police crackdown in Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi and the Citizenship Amendment Act as students and political leaders took to the streets.
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi called these protests "deeply distressing" and appealed for peace, Home Minister Amit Shah said at a rally in Jharkhand's Poreyahat that the objective of the Act is to give citizenship to religiously persecuted refugees, and not to take away citizenship of any Indian.
"Some parties are spreading rumours and inciting violence for their political interest. I request students to go through the CAA once and not fall in their trap," Shah said.
Notwithstanding Shah's claims, protests erupted in several parts of the country — from Uttar Pradesh to Kerala and Maharashtra to West Bengal — against the Act. The protesters also condemned the police action against students of the Jamia Milia Islamia.
Thousands gathered at the India Gate in Delhi to continue the protest against Delhi Police's action in the Jamia Millia Islamia university on Sunday. Showing their solidarity with the students, the protesters also read the Preamble of the Constitution, and vowed to adhere to the secularism enshrined in it.
Several Delhi University students boycotted exams and held a protest outside the Arts Faculty in North Campus to express their solidarity with the movement.
Students stage a demonstration at the India Gate in a show of solidarity with the students from Jamia Millia Islamia. PTI
At ground zero of the student movement, a group of Jamia students stood shirtless in the bone-chilling cold of a December Delhi morning to protest the action against their colleagues on Sunday. Hundreds more gathered on the streets in an orderly manner with some students forming a human chain to manage traffic.
Several students were seen leaving for home but the anger simmered.
"We were inside the university when the police barged in. Around 20 policemen came from gate no 7 and 50 others came from the rear gate. We told them we were not involved in the violence. They didn't listen. They didn't even spare women," Khanzala, who suffered injuries to his legs and abdomen, said.
Fifty detained Jamia students were released early Monday but tension continued on the campus.
Jamia Vice Chancellor Najma Akhtar also supported the students, saying police entered the campus without permission. "We will not tolerate police presence on campus. They scared our students with police brutality," she told reporters, adding that the university will file an FIR on damage to property and police action on students. She also demanded a high-level inquiry from the government.
'Centre solely responsible for violence'
The police clampdown against the Jamia students became yet another rallying point for a Congress-led Opposition, which is already up in arms against the Modi government over the CAA since its passage last week by Parliament.
Apart from the Congress, leaders of four other political parties held a joint press conference to demand an inquiry by a Supreme Court judge into the Sunday evening incident in the campus.
"It is the Central government which is solely responsible for the violence in the country for bringing a law which is being opposed all over the country and by all Opposition political parties. Had the government not brought this law, there would not have been any violence", Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said.
Congress leaders, led by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, also held a silent protest from 4pm to 6pm at India Gate. While Priyanka said "an attack on students is an attack on the soul of India", her mother and party chief Sonia Gandhi issued a statement later accusing the BJP of creating instability in the country.
"The BJP is mother of violence and divisiveness," Sonia alleged in the statement.
Student protesters also demanded a probe into the use of tear gas inside the Jamia university's library as well as police entering the campus without permission from university authorities. And so intense was the exasperation among the student community that even the country's premier institutions — IIT Kanpur, IIT Madras and IIT Bombay — which do not regularly join any agitations, came out against the police action.
In West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took out a massive rally in Kolkata and declared that the CAA and the NRC can be enforced in the state only on her "dead body" while daring the Centre to dismiss her government. Meanwhile, the anti-citizenship law protests snowballed into a major flashpoint in the state with highways and railway lines blocked and incidents of arson and loot reported from many places.
In Kerala rivals UDF and LDF, in a rare show of camaraderie, protested jointly against the police action.
'Time to maintain peace'
As violence and unrest spread across various states against the CAA, the prime minister said "this is the time to maintain peace, unity and brotherhood. It is my appeal to everyone to stay away from any sort of rumour-mongering and falsehoods."
Violent protests on the amended citizenship law are "unfortunate and deeply distressing", he said adding that debate, discussion and dissent are essential parts of democracy, "but never has damage to public property and disturbance of normal life been a part of our ethos."
Modi said he unequivocally assures people that tweaked law does not affect any citizen of India of any religion.
The amended citizenship law illustrates India's centuries old culture of acceptance, harmony, compassion and brotherhood, he said, adding "We cannot allow groups with vested interest to divide us and create disturbance."
Stepping in to quell the unrest, the Union Home Ministry asked states and Union Territories (UTs) to take all possible steps to check violence and ensure safety of life and properties.
The Supreme Court, which agreed to hear on Tuesday pleas alleging police atrocities on students holding protests against the act at the Aligarh Muslim University and the Jamia Millia Islamia, said it will not hear this issue in such an atmosphere of violence.
"The only thing we want is that the violence must stop," said a bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde.
Life was thrown out of gear in several places in North East with trains between West Bengal and the North East came to a halt with the railways suspending all services to the northern region of the state, officials said.
Solidarity across campuses
In Lucknow's Nadwa College, students gathered in the hundreds shouting slogans like "Awaz do, hum ek hain" (call us we are all united) as police tried to control the situation. For a brief while, they hurled stones at the police who threw the missiles back over a campus steel gate. In Hyderabad's Maulana Azad Urdu University, students held a protest march post midnight in solidarity with the Jamia students and demanded that their exams be postponed.
There were angry demonstrations at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi and at the Jadavpur University in Kolkata with demands that the government take action against police "hooliganism". Students from the Mumbai University and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) protested on the streets shouting slogans such as "Shame on Delhi Police".
Students at Central University of Kerala, Kasargod and Pondicherry University boycotted classes. Others joining in included students from Patiala's Punjab University, Patna University and Chennai's Loyola College. The first to join the movement against the violence in Jamia were students from AMU where there were clashes with the police late at night on Sunday in which at least 60 students were injured. After the protest, the university announced the closure till 5 January and students were asked to evacuate the hostels.
As videos from Sunday's violence inside Jamia circulated widely on social media, many spoke out, including from Hollywood and Bollywood. Hollywood star John Cusack was one of those who took to Twitter to air his views. "Reports from Delhi are it was a war zone last night - Fascism is not a joke - we use the word with the understanding it's deadly." Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, who had quit Twitter in August, returned on the microblogging site, saying he cannot stay "silent any longer". "This government is clearly fascist... and it makes me angry to see voices that can actually make a difference stay quiet.." he tweeted.
Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students joined their compatriots in Jamia outside the police headquarters at Delhi's ITO on Sunday night to protest the alleged police assault on students at the Jamia campus earlier in the day. Opposition politicians and activists say the Citizenship Amendment Act, which was passed last week by Parliament, is an attempt to divide the country along religious lines as it grants citizenship to Hindu minorities from the three neighbouring countries. They say such a preference is unconstitutional.
With inputs from PTI