Protests in Assam state over the recently passed citizenship bill continued as of Thursday, January 17, with more events expected until at least Thursday, January 31. Protesters burned mock copies of the proposed bill on Thursday, which passed the lower house of parliament on January 8. Further protests are expected in Guwahati on Friday, January 18, as well as other cities across the state. The opposition Assam Pradesh Congress party unveiled a string of planned demonstrations from Monday, January 21, to January 31. These include a sit-in scheduled on Thursday, January 24, the formation of a human chain on Wednesday, January 30, and a torchlight procession on January 31. Other planned and unplanned public demonstrations are likely in the coming days and weeks.
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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