News Alerts

19 Feb 2020 | 01:33 PM UTC

India: Anti-CAA protests reported across Tamil Nadu state February 19 /update 35

India News Alert

Several anti-CAA groups stage protests across Tamil Nadu state February 19; heightened security presence and transportation disruptions expected over the coming hours

TIMEFRAME expected from 2/19/2020, 12:00 AM until 2/20/2020, 11:59 PM (Asia/Kolkata). COUNTRY/REGION India

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Event

Various anti-CAA organizations marched across Tamil Nadu state on Wednesday, February 19, in the following locations:

  • The main protest took place in Chennai, where participants walked towards the Secretariat defying a Madras High Court order prohibiting protesters to approach the Secretariat. Protesters were stopped by security forces and curtailed their march at Chepauk Stadium. Several roads were closed to traffic and drones were also deployed to monitor the protest.
  • In Tiruppur, over 5000 participants were reported on Palladam road marching towards the District Collectorate, alongside hundreds of police officers.
  • Additional protests were reported across the state in Salem, Krishnagiri, Vellore, Coimbatore, Tiruchi, and Thoothukudi.  

A heightened security presence and disruptions to transportation, business, and telecommunications are to be expected amid protests over the coming hours. Clashes between protesters and police cannot be ruled out, and further violent attacks on protesters are possible.

Context

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) seeks to provide citizenship to non-Muslim minorities fleeing religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. In conjunction with the National Register of Citizens (NRC), activists 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. On November 20, Home Minister Amit Shah said that the NRC will be implemented nationwide. Opponents of the CAA argue that it isolates Muslim Indians by favoring 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.

India's supreme court refused to strike down the law on January 22, prompting further protests. At least 30 people have been killed in clashes between police and protesters, and police officers have arrested hundreds of 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 disruptions to transportation, business, and telecommunications in protest-affected areas. If a demonstration is organized without warning, individuals are advised to refrain from crossing 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) and their home governments. 

 

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