India prepares for New Year's Eve with protests against citizenship law
Demonstrators attend a protest against the new citizenship law in the northern city of Chandigarh. AJAY VERMA/REUTERS
Date: 2019-12-31 12:51
Thousands of Indians are set to ring in the New Year by holding protests against a citizenship law, despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attempts to dampen demonstrations that have run for nearly three weeks.
India has been rocked by the protests since Dec. 12, when the government passed legislation easing the way for non-Muslim minorities from the neighboring Muslim-majority nations of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan to gain Indian citizenship.
Combined with opposition to a proposed national register of citizens, many Indians fear the move will discriminate against the minority Muslim community and chip away at the country’s secular constitution.
Protesters plan at least three demonstrations in New Delhi, the capital, including the area of Shaheen Bagh, where hundreds of residents have blocked a major highway for 18 days.
Poetry recitals and speeches are planned by organizers at a protest outside New Delhi’s Jamia Millia University, which was stormed by police this month.
“New Year’s resolution to defend the constitution,” read the schedule for another protest planned in New Delhi, now in the grip of its second coldest winter in more than a century.
Police said they planned to deploy additional forces in New Delhi on New Year’s Eve, with traffic curbs imposed in some parts of the capital.
Protests have turned violent, particularly in the populous northern state of Uttar Pradesh, and at least 25 people have been killed in clashes with police since early December.
Based on Reuters