The Shahi Imam of New Delhi’s Jama Masjid, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, has said that the Citizenship Amendment Act “has nothing to do with Muslims living in India”, ANI reported on Wednesday. The imam told a gathering on Tuesday that the National Register of Citizens had not yet become law.
Bukhari said protests were a democratic right but should be done in a peaceful manner. “No one can stop us from protesting,” he added. “However, it is important that it is controlled. Keeping our emotions in control is the most important part.”
The religious leader pointed out that the Citizenship Amendment Act was for those people from six persecuted communities who came to India from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh on or before December 31, 2014. “They will be granted citizenship and it will not affect the Muslims living in India,” he added. “The Muslim refugees who came to India from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh will not get citizenship. It has nothing to do with Muslims living in India.”
Bukhari’s remarks came in the backdrop of violence in New Delhi against the amended Citizenship Act, which Parliament approved on December 11. On Sunday, there were violent clashes between students of the Jamia Millia Islamia and Delhi Police, leading to injuries on both sides.
On Tuesday, fresh clashes erupted in Seelampur area of Delhi, with protestors burning buses and throwing stones at the police. The police used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators. A number of people have been arrested in connection with the violence.