Over the last few days, people across India have come on the streets and started a powerful movement in order to protest the recent passing of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019. And even though the government claims the purpose is to protect persecuted minorities, the anger is palpable, and the marches and slogans voice the very fear that there are discriminatory and unconstitutional undertones to CAA, especially towards the Muslim minority.
While in the northeast, the protests centre around longstanding tensions that the act will dilute the demographic and linguistic uniqueness of the people, the rest of India is speaking up against not just further persecution of Muslims, but also as a prelude to a bigger, nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC), which has been implemented in Assam and is designed to detect ‘illegal’ immigrants. There are fears that, as it unfolds in Assam, Indian Muslims across India potentially face the threat of detention camps and deportation.
The resistance is fierce, but it’s being met with violent pushback from the state authorities. In the northeastern states of Assam and Tripura, the outrage led to the government shutting down internet access and the deployment of more troops. Clashes have led to at least six people dying and over a hundred injured.
Things are tumultuous in Delhi as well. Here, students of Jamia Millia Islamia university, which is at the forefront of the movement in the city, were met with police brutality that involved lathi charge and tear gas shelling. Heated clashes were seen at the Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh as well. In response, other campuses across the country are voicing their solidarity with student protesters who were caught in the violence.
In Bengaluru, students from Christ Church were detained and taken to police stations for not having permission to protest in public places. As the revolt unfolds in at least 17 cities—including Mumbai, Bhopal, Jaipur, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Lucknow—we look at some powerful images that show why, despite it all, people are persisting.
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