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Citizenship Amendment Act Protests Updates: UNHRC says CAA is 'fundamentally discriminatory', global body to analyse possible consequences of law

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.

FP Staff December 13, 2019 21:45:36 IST
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Citizenship Amendment Act Protests Updates: UNHRC says CAA is 'fundamentally discriminatory', global body to analyse possible consequences of law

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19:45 (ist)

106 trains to and fro Assam cancelled or terminanted

At least 106 passenger trains were either cancelled or short terminated by Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) in view of disruptions in train movement following protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act since Wednesday, the NFR said in a statement said on Friday.

The NFR has cancelled up and down Guwahati-Dimapur BG Express, Sealdah-Agartala Kanchanjungha Express and the Howrah-Dibrugarh Kamrup Express that were supposed to operate on Friday and Saturday, the NFR statement said.

Some trains such as Guwahati-Jorhat Janshatabdi Express, up and down Tinsukia-Naharlagun Intercity Express, Rajendranagar-New Tinsukia Express, Sealdah-Silchar Kanchanjungha Express, have been cancelled on Saturday.

The Jorhat-Guwahati Janshatabdi Express, Bangalore-Agartala Humsafar Express, up and down Dibrugarh-Dekargaon Special, up and down Lumding-Tinsukia passenger, up and down Dimapur-Mariani passenger, up and down Simaluguri -Dibrugarh passenger and Jorhat-Tinsuka passenger have also been cancelled on Saturday.

The statement also said that trains from Ledo to Dibrugarh and back, Dibrugarh to Dangri and back, up and down New Tinsukia - Rangiya Intercity Express and the Rangiya-New Tinsukia Intercity Express, Tinsukia-Jorhat passenger, up and down Dibrugarh-Murkongselek passenger would not be operated on Saturday and Sunday.

15:23 (ist)

Take a look at how Assam's local dailies covered protests against Citizenship Amendment Act

Language newspapers in Assam have been extensively covering the ongoing protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act across the state. On Friday, all the newspapers carried reports of violence during the protest from all over the state. Reports of excessive use of force by security forces have also found prominence in all the newspapers besides reports of vandalism in different places.

Axomiya Pratidin, an Assamese daily gave a banner headline: 'Dui Pratibadkari Nihat, 21 Gulibiddha' (Two protestors dead, 21 injured by bullets). Right below the banner headline is the disturbing image of a bleeding youth who got wounded during police firing. The main story focused on how the general public defied the curfew and came out in thousands to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act. The front page is splashed with photos of people protesting, an army convoy and public property being burnt to ashes.

Reports of how offices of Asom Gana Parishad, BJP, RSS and AVBP were vandalised in different places across Assam are also present. It also covered how residences of many MLAs were attacked across the state. A flag march by army personnel across the state including Bongaigaon also finds space on the front page of Axomiya Pratidin. In its anchor story, the newspaper tries to reflect the anger among the tea garden community and how they came out in thousands and protested on the streets in Upper Assam.

Read full report here

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

Dec 13, 2019 - 21:16 (IST)

Ashish Shelar asks Uddhav Thackeray for immediate implementation of CAA

BJP leader Ashish Shelar on Friday wrote to Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray seeking immediate implementation of the "historic" amended Citizenship Act in Maharashtra. He also urged Thackeray to clarify his government's position after Congress leader and minister Nitin Raut pitched against implementing the law in the state.

"As you are aware, the historic Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed by both the Houses of the Parliament. It should be immediately implemented in Maharashtra as well once it comes in effect in the rest of the country after the President gives assent to it," Shelar said in the letter sent on Friday.

Shelar, who represents the Bandra West Assembly constituency, said the law is in the interest of the country.

Dec 13, 2019 - 21:07 (IST)

Pakistan hits back at India over CAB

Pakistan on Friday hit back at India for criticising Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan's remarks on India's new citizenship law, saying it is premised on "falsehood". Khan on Thursday criticised the Citizenship Amendment Act as a manifestation of India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi going ahead with "Hindu supremacist agenda".

On Tuesday, Khan said the bill "violates all norms of international human rights law and bilateral agreements with Pakistan" and that "it is part of the RSS Hindu Rashtra design of expansionism."

India on Thursday lambasted Khan for castigating the bill, saying such "unwarranted" criticism cannot absolve Pakistan of the "blatant persecution" of religious minorities in the neighbouring country.

Dec 13, 2019 - 21:03 (IST)

8 columns of Indian Army, Assam Rifles deployed in Assam

Eight columns of the Army and Assam Rifles have been deployed in Assam, including capital Guwahati to control the ongoing violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill and the amended Citizenship Act.

Defence Public Relation Officer Lt Col P Khongsai said the Army and Assam Rifles were requisitioned by the civil administration in Morigaon, Sonitpur and Dibrugarh districts besides Guwahati to arrest the deteriorating law and order situation. The Army was called out on Wednesday as the protestors turned violent over the Bill.

President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the bill on Friday which made it an act. "Till now, a total of eight columns have been requisitioned which include one in Bongaigaon, one in Morigaon, four columns in Guwahati and two in Sonitpur," he said. Each column of the force comprise of around 70 personnel.

Dec 13, 2019 - 20:57 (IST)

Security personnel beat up staffers of private TV channel

Security personnel, including CRPF jawans, had barged into the office of a private TV channel of Assam, 'Prag News' and beaten up its staffers with batons during protests against the amended Citizenship Act, a senior official of the channel said.

At around 8 pm on Thursday, security personnel wielding batons and shields opened gates of the office in Ulubari area of the city and beat up some staffers sitting inside the compound, its Managing Editor Pranoy Bordoloi said. The channel official said the security forces then entered the office building and beat up more employees at the reception area.
 
"It was completely unprovoked and there was no reason for them to enter a media office. We demand an unconditional apology from Assam police," Bordoloi said.

(PTI)

Dec 13, 2019 - 20:55 (IST)

North East to face fuel problems if protests continue

Assam and other North Eastern states may face fuel supply issues if the agitation against the Citizenship Amendment Act continues for another week, as it has already led to shutdown of refineries, petrochemical plant and oil-producing facilities in the region.

Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has been forced to shut down its Digboi refinery in Assam and is operating Guwahati unit at minimal throughput, while Oil India Ltd (OIL) has been forced to shut LPG production and its crude oil production has dropped by 15-20 percent, multiple sources at the state-owned companies said.

Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has seen up to 25 percent drop in production, and gas supplies to Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer Ltd were snapped, leading to shutting down of Assam gas cracker project.

Dec 13, 2019 - 20:48 (IST)

Parliament panel postpones Assam visit

In view of widespread protests in Assam over the amended citizenship law, the parliamentary panel on home affairs has postponed its field visit to the state.

The visit of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs was slated from 18 to 21 December, but it has been postponed in view of curfew and law and order situation in parts of the state. The panel chairman and the members were to visit Shillong in Meghalaya and Assam's Guwahati.

Dec 13, 2019 - 20:44 (IST)

'Go to North Korea': Meghalaya governor

The Meghalaya governor Tathagata Roy on Friday stoked controversy by asking those who do not want "divisive democracy" to go to North Korea.

"A democracy is NECESSARILY DIVISIVE. If you do not want it go to North Korea," Roy tweeted during the day. The governor was apparently backing the new Citizenship Act.

"Two things should never be lost sight of in the present atmosphere of controversy. 1. The country was once divided in the name of religion. 2. A democracy is NECESSARILY DIVISIVE. If you dont want it go to North Korea, he said.

His tweet came hours before protesters reached the entrance of the Raj Bhavan, tried to breach security following which they were lathi-charged and tear-gassed leaving several of them seriously injured.

Dec 13, 2019 - 20:36 (IST)

JD(U) leader joins protests against CAA in Bihar

Janata Dal (United) member of state legislative council Gulam Rasool Balyawi took part in a protest march in Patna against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the NRC, on Friday, according to ANI.

An NDA ally, the JD(U) came under fire from Opposition for supporting the bill in both Houses of the Parliament.

Dec 13, 2019 - 20:09 (IST)

Statement of Jamia Milia Islamia alumni over protests

The alumni of Jamia Millia Islamia on Friday issued a statement condemning the violence and brutality meted out by the Delhi Police against students protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

"There is ample evidence through photographs, videos and ground reports that confirm that the police deliberately injured several students with batons, tear gas, shoes, and stones. While many students have suffered serious head injuries and fractures, dozens of them have been picked up by the Delhi police and taken to various police stations in the city," the statement read.

(Image credit: India Today)

Dec 13, 2019 - 20:03 (IST)

Bhim Army announces protest against CAA on 17 Dec

Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Aazad announced a protest in Delhi on 17 December, News18 reported. He said, "I assure you of this by taking an oath on Baba Saheb's Constitution that I will stand till the end for the protection of the Constitution and protection of Bahujan society."

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.

Citizenship Amendment Act Protests Updates UNHRC says CAA is fundamentally discriminatory global body to analyse possible consequences of 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.

Citizenship Amendment Act Protests Updates UNHRC says CAA is fundamentally discriminatory global body to analyse possible consequences of law

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

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