Citizenship Amendment Act Protests LIVE Updates: The United Nations' human rights body on Friday voiced concern over India's new citizenship law, terming it 'fundamentally discriminatory' in nature.'We are concerned that India's new Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 is fundamentally discriminatory in nature,' UN human rights spokesman Jeremy Laurence told reporters in Geneva.
Citizenship Amendment Act Protests LATEST Updates: The United Nations' human rights body on Friday voiced concern over India's new citizenship law, terming it "fundamentally discriminatory" in nature."We are concerned that India's new Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 is fundamentally discriminatory in nature," UN human rights spokesman Jeremy Laurence told reporters in Geneva.
"The amended law would appear to undermine the commitment to equality before the law enshrined in India's Constitution and India's obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, to which Indian is a State party, which prohibit discrimination based on racial, ethnic or religious grounds," he said.
The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is an internal matter of India, Maldives' Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed said on Friday, noting that the country has always been a safe haven for persecuted minorities.
"I have complete trust in Indian democracy and whatever comes out from the process would be what the majority of people from India want. It is India's internal matter. India is one of the safe havens for persecuted minority communities," said Nasheed, who is leading a parliamentary delegation to India.
Kerala ministers and opposition leaders will hold a joint agitation against Citizenship Amendment Act at Martyr's Column on 16 December, Kerala opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said on Friday. He also said that Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has agreed with the proposal for the joint protest.
In response to the West Bengal, Kerala, Punjab state governments declaring that they wouldn't accept the Citizenship Act in their states, ANI quoted government sources as saying, "Issue of citizenship comes under the Union list by 7th schedule of the Constitution. Such an amendment is applicable to all states."
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee began the dissent against the contentious Citizenship Act since the legislation was being debated in the Parliament earlier this week. She said that the law would not be implemented in her state no matter what.
Echoing this sentiment, on Thursday Kerala and Punjab chief ministers Pinarayi Vijayan and Amarinder SIngh also said that their states wouldn't accept the law. On Friday, Chhattisgarh also voiced the same opinion.
The Jamia Millia Islamia University turned saw a clash between Delhi Police and student protesters on Friday after a march to the Parliament House, to protest the Citizenship Amendment Act, was interrupted by officials, PTI reported. There was a clash between police and students after the protestors were stopped at the varsity gate.
The students, who were baton-charged by police personnel, alleged that the police also used tear gas to quell their march. The students also resorted to stone-pelting. Videos circulated by students on social media showed police caning the protestors.
The Beldanga railway station complex in West Bengal's Murshidabad district was set on fire and RPF personnel deputed there were thrashed by thousands of people, protesting against the amended Citizenship Act on Friday, PTI reported.
Several minority organisations in the district had called for mass protests, according to district police sources. "The protestors all of a sudden entered the railway station complex and set the platform, two-three buildings and railway offices on fire. When RPF personnel tried to stop them, they were brutally beaten up," a senior RPF official was quoted as saying.
Home Minister Amit Shah has cancelled his planned trip to Shillong in Meghalaya, reportedly in light of the widespread massive protests against the Citizenship Act in the North East. He was scheduled to be at NEPA passing out parade on Sunday, sources said.
After TMC's Mahua Moitra moved the Supreme Court over the amended citizenship law, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh also approached the apex court challenging validity of the law. He alleged that the new law violated the right to equality by not granting citizenship to persecuted Muslims from neighbouring countries.
With reference to the proposed visit of Japanese PM Shinzo Abe to India, both sides have decided to defer the visit to a mutually convenient date in the near future, tweeted Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, confirmed reports that the visit had been postponed. Guwahati, the planned venue for a summit between Abe and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been engulfed in violent protests over a controversial citizenship law.
The Government of Nagaland on Friday issued an advisory in view of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) related agitation in several districts of Assam.They have asked people to avoid travelling through Assam. Furthermore, any Nagaland bound passengers stranded in Guwahati at the railway station/bus terminus or other parts of Assam because of the ongoing agitation can contact the given numbers for any assistance or for any information in the photo given below.
The curfew imposed in parts of Shillong following violent protests was relaxed on Friday for 12 hours, beginning 10 am, with no untoward incident being reported from the areas, officials said. The curfew was imposed on Thursday night in areas under Sadar and Lumdiengjri police station limits, which comprise at least 20 neighbourhoods of North Shillong and Mawprem. "The curfew has been relaxed from 10 am to 10 pm in the areas under Sadar and Lumdiengjri police station limits," East Khasi Hills district deputy commissioner MW Nongbri told PTI.
She said untoward incident was reported during the curfew hours, which began at 9 pm on Thursday. Mobile internet and messaging services, however, remained suspended. The services were withdrawn at 5 pm on Thursday for 48 hours, following massive protests over the amended Citizenship Act.
Under the Opposition's attack over the amended Citizenship Act, the BJP is set to launch a public awareness programme to inform people about its features and benefits, and also "dispel the propaganda" that the legislation is against any community. Though the party intends to start a nation-wide campaign, it will run an intensive exercise in states where the legislation's beneficiaries are in large numbers.
West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh told PTI that the party will launch a mass contact programme and distribute literature about the law. He estimated that over two crore people can get Indian citizenship under the amended Act.
According to News18 reports, internet facilities have been snapped in Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh after the town witnessed protests over Citizenship Amendment Bill. The students of the Aligarh Muslim University had announced to carry out a protest march following which the authorities imposed Section 144. The students have been warned against the march.
TMC leader Mahua Moitra moved the Supreme Court challenging the amended Citizenship Act, which got Presidential assent on Thursday night. Moitra's counsel mentioned the matter on Friday for urgent listing before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, who asked him to approach the mentioning officer. Moitra's counsel told the bench that the plea be listed either during the day or on 16 December.
President Ram Nath Kovind had on Thursday night gave his assent to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, turning it into an Act.
The Shiv Sena on Friday attacked the Centre, saying it brought the new citizenship law to show it is the sole saviour of Hindus and asked what kind of politics it is playing by inviting uncalled for pain after the move caused violence in the north-eastern states. The bill was brought only to prove that they are the sole saviour of Hindus across the world. But the government has no concrete answer to why Kashmiri Pandits have not been able to return to Kashmir despite the scrapping of Article 370. "The situation in Kashmir is still not normal, the Shiv Sena said.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led party, which supported the bill in the Lok Sabha, but stayed away from voting on it in the Rajya Sabha, made the critical remarks in the editorial of its mouthpiece Saamana.
"Non-BJP" chief ministers must save "the soul of India" after the Citizenship Amendment Act was approved by Parliament and signed into law this week, Janata Dal (United) vice-president Prashant Kishor said in a tweet on Friday. Kishor has vociferously opposed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 which was supported by his party JDU and later passed by the Parliament.
The All Assam Students’ Union on Friday began a 10-hour hunger strike at Assam Engineering Institute ground in Chandmari. Mobile internet services have been suspended across Meghalaya for the next 48 hours, officials said in the wake of the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Parliament. CVD Diengdoh, additional secretary to the government of Meghalaya (home police) department on Thursday said that mobile Internet and messaging were suspended for 48 hours from 5 pm on Thursday in entire Meghalaya to prevent a potential threat to public safety through SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering cancelling his trip to India scheduled to begin on Sunday, Japan’s Jiji Press reported. Guwahati, the planned venue for a summit between Abe and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been engulfed in violent protests over a controversial citizenship law.
Protests in North East are likely to continue for the third day on Friday as Assam, the hotbed of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
On Thursday, thousands of angry protesters came out on streets defying curfew, thumbing their nose at army contingents staging flag marches, and clashing with the police across cities. Three people have died during the protests in the state. One of them, who succumbed to a bullet injury in Lachit Nagar, has been identified as Deepanjal Das from Chaygaon.
Mobile internet services have been suspended across Meghalaya for the next 48 hours, officials said on Thursday. The development comes in the wake of the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Parliament. CVD Diengdoh, additional secretary to the government of Meghalaya (home police) department on Thursday said that mobile Internet and messaging were suspended for 48 hours from 5 pm on Thursday in entire Meghalaya to prevent a potential threat to public safety through SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
The district administration of East Khasi Hills district has imposed curfew in few areas of the city from 10 pm on Thursday night until further orders. The areas where the curfew will remain effective include areas under Sadar and Lumdiengjri police stations - the whole of Jaiaw, Mawkhar, Umsohsun, Riatsamthiah, Wahingdoh, Mission,
Meanwhile, in neighbouring Assam the suspension of mobile Internet services imposed in the 10 districts of the state was extended for 48 hours more.
An official of the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital told PTI that one person was "brought dead" and another succumbed to injuries while undergoing treatment in Assam on Thursday.
The protests in the North East came a day after the Rajya Sabha passed the Bill, which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, thereby paving the way for it to become a law.
An army personnel stands guard in front of a clock tower damaged by protesters during a demonstration against the passing of Citizenship Amendment Bill, in Dibrugarh. PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed for calm and sought to assuage the concerns of protesters, insisting his government was committed to safeguarding their rights. In a series of tweets, in both Assamese and English, the prime minister said he personally and the Central Government were "totally committed to constitutionally safeguard the political, linguistic, cultural and land rights of the Assamese people as per the spirit of Clause 6".
Clause 6 of the Assam Accord guarantees to safeguard local rights, language and culture.
"I want to assure my brothers and sisters of Assam that they have nothing to worry after the passing of #CAB (sic)," Modi wrote on the microblogging site.
However, several people pointed out the irony of the prime minister addressing the people of Assam through a tweet, even as mobile internet remains suspended in several districts of the state. The Congress also hit out at Modi, saying —
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal also appealed to the people of Assam to maintain peace and tranquillity. "It's our cultural, social and spiritual tradition. I've a firm belief that people of Assam, as usual, will maintain peace for all time to come," he said.
"A section of people is trying to make the situation aggravated by spreading misinformation and misleading people by saying that 10-15 million people are going to take citizenship in Assam. It's false propaganda," he added.
Guwahati resembles garrison town, curfew in Shillong
Guwahati resembled a garrison town with Army, paramilitary and state police personnel stationed in every nook and corner, watching helplessly, as frenzied mobs blocked roads with burning discarded tyres and menaced commuters by bludgeoning their vehicles with sticks and stones.
Suspension of internet services in ten districts of the state was extended for another 48 hours, beginning 12 pm, to prevent "misuse" of social media in disturbing peace and tranquillity, and to maintain law and order, an official said.
Internet services will remain suspended in Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Kamrup (Metro) and Kamrup, Additional Chief Secretary (Home and Political department) Sanjay Krishna told PTI. Internet services were suspended at 7 pm on Wednesday amid the protests.
To tackle the situation, the government also made a slew of changes in the state's police ranks. Guwahati Police commissioner Deepak Kumar was removed and Munna Prasad Gupta was appointed in his place. Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Mukesh Agarwal was transferred as ADGP (CID) and GP Singh was given his charge.
A curfew has been imposed in several parts of Shillong and SMS and internet services have been suspended across the state for 48 hours starting from 5 pm on Thursday.
Incidents of violence
Police opened fire in Lalung Gaon in Guwahati after protesters hurled stones at its personnel. Though there was no official word about the incident, protesters claimed four of them were injured in the firing.
A railway station in Dibrugarh's Chabua, the hometown of the Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, was set on fire by protesters late Wednesday night. The Panitola railway station in Tinsukia district was also torched. Following this, 12 companies of the Railway Protection Special Force (RPSF) have been dispatched to the region.
Northeast Frontier Railway spokesperson Subhanan Chanda said, "Passengers are stranded and we are trying to help them as much as possible. We are mulling to run special trains to ferry these passengers, but are still weighing if the risk is worth it... It might be a security threat for passengers if protesters stop the trains. As of now, all passenger trains have been suspended and trains from outside the region are being short terminated at Guwahati."
The headquarters of the Assam Gana Parishad (also spelt as Assam Gono Parishad) in the city's Ambari area were attacked by people protesting against the Bill, police said. The protesters went inside the building, located on the Gopinath Bordoloi Road in the heart of the city, and smashed a few window panes and damaged the property, they said.
Several vehicles, including those of the police, parked outside the building were also vandalised, they added.
In Shillong, burning and vandalisation of vehicles, this afternoon led to a chaotic situation in the Police Bazaar area and Iew Duh area, resulting in the imposition of curfew in all neighbourhoods that include areas under Sadar PS and Lumdiengjri PS, District deputy commissioner MW Nongbri said.
With inputs from PTI