News Alerts

20 Dec 2019 | 11:57 AM UTC

India: Fresh Anti-CAA protests reported nationwide December 20 /update 17

India News Alert

Anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests ongoing nationwide December 20; further protests, clashes expected over the near term

TIMEFRAME expected from 12/20/2019, 12:00 AM until 12/23/2019, 11:59 PM (Asia/Kolkata). COUNTRY/REGION India

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Event

As of Friday, December 20, Anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests continue to be reported nationwide, including in Hyderabad (Telangana), Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh), Chennai (Tamil Nadu), and Delhi.

In Delhi, protesters gathered at around 13:00 (local time) at Jama Masjid before marching toward Jantar Mantar. Protesters have been stopped by authorities near Delhi's Gate. Further rallies have reportedly been taking place across Delhi, including in the Seelampur area, where traffic has been barred on the Netaji Subhash Marg road. As of 16:33, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has reportedly closed the Delhi Gate, Chawri Bazar, Lal Quila, Johri Enclave, Shiv Vihar, Dilshad Garden, Dilshad Garden, Maujpur-Babarpur, and Jama Masjid stations. Heightened security measures have also been reported around the Shastri Bhawan building and in the northeast of Delhi.

In Hyderabad, protests erupted at around 13:30 (local time) in the Charminar area, where at least 15 protesters have been arrested.

In Uttar Pradesh, police reportedly fired tear gas in Bulanshahr as mob violence erupted at 16:00, and clashes between police and protesters have been reported in Gorakhpur and Bijnor.

In Mangaluru (Kartakana), a curfew has been implemented in part of the city through at least Sunday, December 22, after two protesters were killed when police fired shots in the air and used tear gas to disperse the crowd on Thursday, December 19.

Internet services have been restored in Assam after a ten-day suspension. Further internet suspensions has been reported in Uttar Pradesh, including in Hamirpur and Firozabad (Uttar Pradesh) where all types of communication including voice, SMS, and data have been suspended through at least Saturday, December 21. Posts circulating on social media indicate that communication suspensions were still ongoing in several parts of Delhi as of 15:00 on Friday. It is not clear when services will be fully restored.

State officials have also implemented section 144, which prohibits the gathering of more than four people, in Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Noida and parts of Delhi.

A heightened security presence and significant transportation, business, and telecommunication disruptions are expected nationwide over the coming hours and days. Further clashes between protesters and police cannot be ruled out.

Context

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) seeks to provide citizenship to non-Muslim minorities fleeing religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. Opponents claim that the legislation is in violation of the constitution, which prohibits religious discrimination against citizens. In conjunction with the National Register of Citizens (NRC), activists also claim that it specifically seeks to target Indian Muslims. The NRC aims to identify illegal immigrants by requiring individuals to prove their citizenship based on specific documentation prior to a certain cut-off date, including land and tenancy records. The NRC has so far only been implemented in Assam, where more than 1.9 million people failed to qualify as of August and were subsequently put in detention centers. However, on November 20, Home Minister Amit Shah said that the NRC will be implemented nationwide. While the NRC will expose all illegal immigrants, opponents of the CAA argue that the act isolates Muslim Indians as it favors all non-Muslim religious minorities who may fail to qualify for the NRC but will nonetheless be assured citizenship. The CAA has also received opposition - particularly in several northeastern states - due to fears that it will encourage an influx of immigrants that will affect the ethnic balance.

The Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament) passed the CAA legislation on December 9, while the Rajya Sabha (upper house of parliament) passed the bill on December 11. India's Supreme Court refused petitions to halt the implementation of the CAA on December 18. A hearing on the act has been scheduled for January 22. Nationwide protests opposing the CAA began on December 10; security forces have killed at least eight protesters as of December 15.

Advice

Individuals in India are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests and demonstrations as violence may flare up without warning, and prepare for widespread transportation, business, and communications disruptions. If a demonstration erupt without warning, individuals are advised not to cross roadblocks, take shelter in a safe place, and avoid taking pictures. Travelers should adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities (especially if curfews are enforced).

Individuals present in Delhi are advised to limit movements within the city as much as possible, check road conditions prior to departure, budget for additional time to reach their destination, confirm all flight reservations, and contact their airline for additional information.

 

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