Protests against the amendments to the Citizenship Act spread from the North East to other parts of the country such as Delhi and Tamil Nadu on Friday. Students of the Jamia Millia University were baton-charged by the Delhi Police during a march, while more than 100 people were detained in Tamil Nadu’s Salem and Chennai cities. Thousands of protestors marched towards the Raj Bhavan in Shillong in the afternoon, while in Assam’s Guwahati, a 10-hour fast was held as form of a protest.
Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress agreed on portfolio distribution in Maharashtra on Thursday. At present ministers – two each from the Sena, the NCP and the Congress – will handle all portfolios, and a Cabinet expansion is likely take place after the winter session of the Assembly that will run from December 16 to December 21.
Here are the biggest stories of the day:
The Meghalaya Police on Friday used tear gas shells and baton-charged protestors who were allegedly pelting stones in front of the Raj Bhavan in Shillong. Thousands of protestors marched towards the Raj Bhavan in the afternoon to protest against the amendments made to the Citizenship Act.
The Ministry of Finance on Friday listed the steps it had taken to boost the Indian economy. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman claimed that the “results of some measures have started showing”.
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday sought action against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his “rape in India” comment at an election rally in Jharkhand the previous day, the Hindustan Times reported. Assembly elections are currently underway in several phases in the state.
The Communist Party of India (Maoist) on Thursday confirmed the death of its Central Committee member Ravalu Srinivas, popularly known as Ramanna, in an audio message. They said Ramanna died at 10 pm on December 7 because of a “serious health ailment” in the forests of Bastar district, Chhattisgarh.
Students of Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi on Friday clashed with police as protests against the amendments made to the Citizenship Act turned violent. Hundreds of students had gathered for a march to Parliament House from the university campus to voice their opposition to the legislation. Visuals showed police use tear gas and batons to disperse the students.
The Supreme Court on Friday said it was satisfied with the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Juvenile Justice Committee report saying no minors were under illegal detention in the region. A bench headed by Justice NV Ramana said that it would not be proper if the court does not believe its own judges. They said four high court judges visited all the jails in Jammu and Kashmir and have clearly stated that no minors were under illegal detention after the Centre scrapped the erstwhile state’s special status under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday refused to apologise for his “rape in India” comment made at an election rally the previous day. Gandhi accused the government of targeting him deliberately to deflect attention from the massive protests in North East against amendments to Citizenship Act. “As far as their [BJP’s] demand for apologising, I am never going to apologise to them,” he told reporters outside Parliament.
A group of former civil servants known as the Constitutional Conduct Group on Friday expressed its dismay at the recent murder and alleged rape of a veterinarian in Hyderabad, and the controversial killing of the four men accused of the crime. The group urged MPs to stop calling for lynching and summary executions that, they claimed, was feeding a frenzy of violence in the country.
The Supreme Court on Friday said the Sabarimala matter was “very emotive” and declined to pass any order on the pleas by two women who had sought safe entry into the Ayyappa shrine in Kerala. Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said he would set up a seven-judge bench to reconsider a previous judgement at the earliest.
Actor-turned-politician Jatin Bora on Thursday resigned from the Bharatiya Janata Party to protest against the amendments made to the Citizenship Act. He also quit as the chairperson of the state-run Assam State Film Finance Development Corporation.
Bangladesh on Thursday summoned Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Riva Ganguly Das to lodge a protest against the attack on the convoy of its assistant high commissioner in Guwahati, and told India to increase the security of the Guwahati mission.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday refused to apologise for his “Rape in India” comment made at an election rally in Jharkhand the previous day. The Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday strongly objected to Gandhi’s remarks and created a ruckus in Parliament.
A Delhi court adjourned till Wednesday the hearing of a plea seeking death warrants against the four convicts in the 2012 gangrape case, PTI reported. The court said it will wait for the Supreme Court’s decision on the review petition filed by one of the convicts against the death penalty given to him.
Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Madhya Pradesh Ganesh Singh on Thursday claimed that speaking Sanskrit on a regular basis boosts the nervous system and keeps diabetes and cholesterol under control.
Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra on Friday moved the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of the amendments made to the Citizenship Act, hours after the bill received Presidential assent. The matter was listed for an urgent hearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde. Moitra’s counsel was directed to approach the mentioning officer.
Urdu journalist and writer Shirin Dalvi has decided to return a literary award in protest against the recent amendments to the Citizenship Act, calling them “inhuman” and “an attack on the Constitution and secularism”, The Wire reported on Thursday.
The United States on Thursday urged India to protect the rights of minorities in the country even as it continued to monitor the violent protests in Assam and other northeastern states against amendments made to the Citizenship Act. “We are closely following developments regarding the Citizenship Amendment Bill,” a State Department spokesperson said. “Respect for religious freedom and equal treatment under the law are fundamental principles of our two democracies.”
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Hitendra Nath Goswami, who is the Speaker in the Assam Assembly, said on Thursday that doubts expressed over amendments to the Citizenship Act were not baseless. There is a strong possibility that the implementation of the law will “create division among different castes, communities and languages”, he added.
The chief ministers of Kerala and Punjab on Thursday said they would not implement the amended citizenship law in their states, days after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also talked about defying it. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the amended law was a direct assault on India’s secular character, while his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan said there was no place for such an unconstitutional law in the state.
The Japanese government is considering cancelling Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to India on Sunday due to the ongoing protests against amendments to the Citizenship Act, local media outlet Jiji Press reported. Abe is scheduled to visit Guwahati for a summit with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi from December 15 to December 17.
The curfew was relaxed for five hours in Assam’s Dibrugarh district on Friday morning even as the state remained tense amid protests against amendments made to the Citizenship Act. The Meghalaya administration suspended mobile internet for 48 hours on Thursday night.
Night curfew was put in place in the districts of Jorhat, Golaghat, Tinsukia, and Charaideo, while the government extended the suspension of mobile internet services in 10 districts.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah met delegations of the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura – the Bharatiya Janata Party’s ally in Tripura – and an outfit called Joint Movement Against CAB on Thursday night to discuss their concerns about the amended Citizenship Act as protests escalated in various parts of the North East.
The Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress agreed on portfolio distribution in Maharashtra on Thursday, more than two weeks after Sena president and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray took oath along with six ministers, The Hindu reported.
At present ministers – two each from the Sena, the NCP and the Congress – will handle all portfolios, and a Cabinet expansion is likely take place after the winter session of the Assembly that will run from December 16 to December 21.
Amid massive protests in Assam and other northeastern states, the Citizenship Amendment Act was notified after President Ram Nath Kovind gave it his assent late on Thursday, ANI reported.
The amendment bill was passed in Parliament this week following lengthy debates and amid protests in the North East. The contentious law grants citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, provided they have resided in India for six years. The cut-off date is December 31, 2014. It explicitly excludes Muslims from three neighbouring countries from applying for Indian citizenship.
On Thursday evening, as protests raged against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Guwahati, Assam police personnel barged into the office of Prag News, a private TV news channel, and beat up its staffers, its managing editor told Scroll.in.
“It was completely unprovoked and we demand an unconditional apology from Assam police,” said Pranay Bordoloi, the managing editor.
At least two protestors died in the city of Guwahati in Assam on Thursday as demonstrations against the amended Citizenship Act raged on in the state. According to Reuters, at least 11 people suffered bullet injuries in Guwahati, the epicentre of the demonstrations.
The state administration imposed an indefinite curfew in Guwahati and Dibrugarh districts, and the towns of Tezpur and Dhekiajuli in Sonitpur district. Night curfew was reportedly put in the districts of Jorhat, Golaghat, Tinsukia, and Charaideo
Heavy rain hit parts of Delhi and the National Capital Region on Thursday. Several flights were diverted or delayed as a result.
“Due to heavy air traffic congestion and bad weather at Delhi airport, there have been diversions in flight departures and arrivals,” IndiGo tweeted. Vistara also announced a list of flights that were being diverted and delayed.
The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday clarified that the lotus was being printed on Indian passports because of new security measures. During his weekly media briefing ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “This symbol is our national flower and is part of the enhanced security features to identify fake passports.” He added that other national symbols will also be used in rotation.