New Delhi: Protests and clashes that broke out since the enactment of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill refused to subside on Wednesday. The new Act allows non-Muslims namely Hindus, Parsis, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs facing religious persecution in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh to adopt Indian citizenship. However, it faced backlash from various sections of society.
To ensure the maintenance of law and order in the nation, Section 144 has been imposed across Karnataka, especially in Bengaluru effective from December 19 to 21. The three-day ban on assembly of over five persons in the state will begin from 6 AM on Thursday and continue till Saturday midnight, stated a report. Notably, section 144 has also been imposed in Uttar Pradesh for December 19.
Here are the top developments on the Citizenship Amendment Act as on December 18:
Protests and Clashes Over CAA:
Scores of students from different colleges in Kerala held protests on Wednesday. One such clash took place in Kerala Varma College of Kerala’s Thrissur where the ABVP student activists were beaten up by the activists of the Student Federation of India (SFI) activists – of the CPI-M in a difference of opinion over the CAA. Things cooled down after the staff members of the college intervened, stated a report. A police official speaking on conditions of anonymity told news agency IANS, “So far no case has been registered.”
Reactions to Citizenship Law:
- Upset over the Citizenship Amendment Act, Hyderabad-based Urdu writer Mujtaba Hussain announced his decision to return the Padma Shri award he received in 2017 for his contributions to Urdu literature. “The democratic set up built by Gandhiji, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Ambedkar is being broken and the voice of many people is being shut,” said Mujtaba Hussain, as quoted by news agency PTI.
- Actor-turned-politician and Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) chief Kamal Haasan on Wednesday met the students of Madras University in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, who have been protesting against the CAA. The MNM chief Kamal Haasan questioned the central government’s urgency on CAA and announced that his party will oppose the nationwide implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). Notably, MNM has filed a case against the citizenship law in the Supreme Court.
- The Telangana High Court lawyers stood divided over the Citizenship Amendment Act with a majority staging protests against the ‘unconstitutional’ CAA and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), while the rest hailing the legislation. There was police security in place around the High Court complex to prevent any untoward incident. Those against the CAA raised slogans that hit out at the country’s attempts to divide the country on communal lines. Some of the lawyers who were in favour of CAA called themselves ‘Advocates for Nation’ and distributed sweets.
- Several thousand members of civil society organisations and representatives from non-BJP parties held a meeting in Panaji, the capital city of Goa on Wednesday to protest against the CAA and its violent fallout in various parts of the country. “The Citizenship Amendment Act is unconstitutional and is aimed at dividing India on the lines of religion,” Arvind Bhatikar, a retired Indian Administrative Service officer, said, as quoted by news agency ANI. Another member stated that the new law targets a specific community and apparently attempts to alienate them from the rest of the country.
Attempts to Counter Fake News:
- In an attempt to counter fake news, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to consider a petition seeking the publicity of the CAA. The plea filed by BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay asked the government to make the aims, objectives and benefits of the Citizenship Act public for spreading awareness about it. A bench, headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said that the Centre could examine the issue. Later, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal said that a court order was not required on the plea as “it’s necessary and there are misunderstandings.”