In India, thousands of people took to the streets against the new citizenship law. Hundreds of them were arrested. The police used some violence against demonstrators.
Hundreds of demonstrators have been arrested in India during protests against the controversial citizenship law. The dpa news agency even reported on thousands of protest participants who were temporarily arrested. According to Reuters news agency, which cites hospital workers, two people died in the southwest Indian city of Mangaluru.
Opposition to the reform initiated by the Indian parliament last week has been going on for days, although the government has since banned large gatherings. Today thousands of people took to the streets again, especially in the capital New Delhi and the metropolis Bangalore.
Batons and tear gas against demonstrators
For the most part, the demonstrations were peaceful, reported local media. In some cases, however, the police again used batons and tear gas against the protesters.
At least 18 metro stations were closed in New Delhi and demonstrations were expected in the vicinity. Access roads to the center of the capital were blocked. In addition, a large telephone operator in the country said it had partially stopped its service on instructions from the government.
Law excludes Muslims
The controversial law makes it easier for non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan to obtain Indian citizenship. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi sees reform as a way to help politically persecuted people. Muslims are excluded because, according to the arguments of the Hindu nationalist ruling party BJP, they are not persecuted for religious reasons in Muslim countries.
This is exactly what the opponents of the law criticize: it discriminates against Muslims. The UN had also described the regulation as discriminatory. In addition, according to the allegations of the demonstrators, the reform links law and religion, which violates the Indian constitution.
Violates constitutional reform?
Immediately after the law was passed by parliament, the opposition Congress Party filed a constitutional complaint against the controversial amendment to the Citizenship Act, which is now to be decided by the Indian Supreme Court.
There have also been protests for days in the region in the northeastern tip of India, between Bangladesh and Bhutan. The residents fear an influx of immigrants and thereby a change in the population structure.
At least six people have been killed and hundreds injured in the demonstrations.