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26 Dec 2019 | 01:29 PM UTC

India: Anti-CAA protests in several cities Dec.26; further scheduled on Dec. 27 /update 23

India News Alert

Anti-CAA protests reported in several cities on December 26; activists announce fresh demonstrations across the country on December 27; heightened security presence and associated disruptions expected

TIMEFRAME expected from 12/26/2019, 12:00 AM until 12/28/2019, 11:59 PM (Asia/Kolkata). COUNTRY/REGION India

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Event

Activists opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) have protested in several cities across the country as of Thursday, December 26, including in Bengaluru, Jaipur, Mysore, Mangaluru, Gulbarga, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Calicut, Chennai, Adilabad, Osmanabad, Jamshedpur, Aligarh Muslim University, and Aurangabad.

Further protests have been called for on Friday, December 27.

• In Hyderabad, participants plan to gather from 15:00 to 18:00 (local time) at Mira Alam Eidgah.

• In Delhi, protesters will meet at 15:00 (local time) in front of the UP Bhavan.

• In Nalgonda, protesters will gather at 14:00 (local time) in front of the Ng College and march to the Ambedkar Statue.

• In Vijayawada, a protest has been called from 14:00 to 16:00 (local time) from the Panja Center to Dharna Chowk.

• In Pune, a protest will take place from 14:30 (local time) starting on Golibar Maidan road; protesters will then head to the Collector Office.

• In Mumbai, protesters will gather at 15:00 (local time) at Azad Maidan. A counter protest in support of the CAA has also been called in Mumbai from 16:00 (local time). Protesters are expected to gather at August Kranti Maidan.

Related anti- and pro-CAA protests are likely in other urban centres across the country on Friday.

A heightened security presence, and significant transportation, business, and telecommunication disruption are expected nationwide in the coming hours and days. Subsequent 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. At least 23 people have been killed in clashes between police and protesters, and police officers have arrested several hundred demonstrators since December 11. 

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 erupts 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).

 

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