Over 60 student unions have called for a demonstration on Thursday, January 30, against the Anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) at the Rajghat monument in Delhi. Student groups plan to form a human chain and later march towards other landmarks, including Shaheen Bagh and Khajuri Khas. Thursday marks Martyr's Day, the anniversary of Ghandi's death, which may mobilize further protests in other parts of the country.
This demonstration comes amid a four-week review period granted to the government by the Supreme Court to respond to legal contestations against the CAA.
A heightened security presence and disruptions to transportation, business, and telecommunications are to be expected in the vicinity of all protests over the coming days. Clashes between protesters and police cannot be ruled out.
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, 2019, 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 petitions to halt the implementation of the CAA on December 18.
India's supreme court refused to strike down the law on January 22, 2020, prompting further protests. At least 30 people have been killed in clashes between police and protesters, and police officers have arrested several hundred demonstrators since December 11.
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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