India: Two killed in protests over new anti-Muslim citizenship law

20th Dec 2019
India: Two killed in protests over new anti-Muslim citizenship law

By Ahmad Adil

 

CHANDIGARTH, India (AA): At least two protestors were killed in southern India as demonstrations against a controversial new citizenship law escalated and spread Thursday, local media reported.

The deaths occurred in Mangaluru in the Karnataka state when police opened fire to quell protests.

“Two protesters have been killed in police firing during protests in Karnataka Mangaluru. The victims, Jaleel (49) and Nauseen (23), had suffered bullet injuries when police opened fire to quell the violent protests against recent amendment in Citizenship Act,” India Today reported.

Dinesh Gundu Rao, a senior Congress leader in Karnataka, took to social media to discuss the two casualties.

“Tragic news in Mangaluru. Two people have died in police firing and two are supposedly critically injured. The BJP is directly responsible for breakdown of law & order. The statements and actions of the BJP govt & its leaders is creating an unnecessary provocative environment,” Rao said on Twitter.

India is witnessing widespread mainly peaceful protests against the controversial new citizenship law, which is seen as discriminatory against Muslims.

Protesters in various states have defied bans on public assembly, prompting authorities to detain hundreds of activists, including prominent historian Ramachandra Guha, politicians, and top civil society activists.

Protesters also turned violent in Lucknow, the capital of India’s largest state of BJP controlled Uttar Pradesh.

Police used tear gas and batons to disperse protesters, after vehicles parked outside a police post were set on fire and stones were thrown during a demonstration, said the Press Trust of India.

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed last week grants citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Christians from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh but blocks naturalization for Muslims.

Muslim leaders believe the new law would be linked to the National Register of Citizens (NRC), an exercise where every citizen would be asked to prove Indian citizenship.

Non-Muslims would be covered under the new law and would be citizens automatically, but the country’s 180 million Muslim population would be made to prove citizenship.

[Photo: Demonstration against India’s new citizenship law in New Delhi, India on December 19, 2019. Photographer: Muhabiri İmtiyaz Khan/AA]

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