Protests continued in Assam state as of Monday, January 14, in opposition to a citizenship bill that passed the lower house of parliament earlier this month. On Monday, a demonstration was held in Majuli during the arrival of Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. Security forces reportedly arrested some of the protesters and dispersed the rest. Security forces also arrested around 100 protesting students from Kaziranga University in Jorhat on Sunday, January 13, and hundreds of demonstrators blocked traffic on National Highway 36 in Karbi Anglong district. Similar demonstrations are expected to continue in the coming days. Associated transportation disruptions are possible along with a heightened security presence.
Lok Sabha, the lower house of parliament, passed a bill on January 8 that would grant citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Parsis, Sikhs, and other members of non-Muslim religious groups who have immigrated to India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan in the past six years, regardless of immigration status. It also follows shortly after a July census announcement by the Registrar General of India that excluded 4 million Muslims in Assam state that were unable to provide citizenship documents to prove they had lived in India before 1971. The upper house of parliament, which is unlikely to approve the bill, has yet to vote on the measure.
Individuals in India, particularly in Assam, are advised to monitor the situation, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities (e.g. bans on protests or public gatherings), avoid public demonstrations due to the risk of violence and arrest, and anticipate protests, a heightened security presence, and localized business and transportation disruptions.
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