At least 11 people were killed and hundreds of others were wounded when violent clashes broke out between opposing groups during anti-CAA protests in New Delhi on Tuesday, February 25. Police reportedly attempted to disperse the crowds with tear gas and smoke grenades, but protesters were able to tear down metal barricades and set vehicles and a gas pump on fire.
Police are in the process of restoring order, and have implemented emergency laws under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to prohibit assemblies of three or more people in northeastern Delhi.
Several schools and at least five metro stations in the New Delhi area are closed as of Tuesday due to the ongoing violence. Further protests are possible throughout India over the coming days.
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. Violent clashes between rival protesters and police are likely.
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.
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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