Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill were held in different parts of India on Sunday ahead of its introduction in the Lok Sabha on Monday. Union Home Minister Amit Shah will table the draft law.
People took to the streets in large numbers in Imphal Valley in a demonstration led by Manipur People Against CAB, The New Indian Express reported. The All Assam Students Union organised a torch rally in Guwahati, reported ANI. The Assam organisation has declared that bandhs and hunger strikes will be observed in the coming days.
“The Narendra Modi government is imposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill on the people of the Northeastern region in the interest of its vote bank,” the union’s Chief Advisor Dr Samujjal Bhattacharya told PTI on Saturday. “It wants to make illegal Bangladeshis Indian citizens to use them as the BJP’s vote bank.”
The North East Students Organisation has called an 11-hour strike from 5 am on Tuesday, according to Hindustan Times.
Several people joined a protest in Delhi on Sunday, following similar demonstrations the day before, PTI reported. The demonstration, organised by non-governmental organisation United Against Hate, saw protestors carrying banners that read: “Reject CAB! Boycott NRC!”, and “India need jobs, education and health care, not nationwide NRC!”
In Bengaluru, residents assembled for “Not In My Name” protests against the bill at Mysore Bank Circle. Protestors carried posters that read: “Don’t believe the lies”, and “withdraw communally motivated Citizenship Amendment Bill”.
The amendment bill proposes to provide citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians from the Muslim-majority nations of Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan – provided they have lived in India for six years.
Several politicians across party lines have voiced their opposition to the bill. The parties have repeatedly lambasted the Narendra Modi-led administration’s decision to introduce it in Parliament.
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Sunday said the party would strongly oppose the Bill in Parliament as it was against Constitution and its secular ethos. He made the remarks after a meeting of the Congress parliamentary strategy group at party chief Sonia Gandhi’s residence. Chowdhury’s party colleague Shashi Tharoor said providing citizenship on the basis of religion would turn India into a “Hindutva version of Pakistan”.
On Friday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said the Bill and the National Register of Citizens were two sides of the same coin. “You [Bharatiya Janata Party] can pass CAB [Citizenship Amendment Bill] in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha as you have majority,” she said, adding that her party will still oppose it.