A Trinamool Congress delegation was detained at the Lucknow airport on Sunday when it was on its way to meet the families of those killed during protests against the amended Citizenship Act. The party demanded the release of its leaders immediately. “We condemn such undemocratic action and attempt by the BJP to turn Uttar Pradesh into a police state,” said TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra visited Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh where two people were killed during protests.
At a rally in Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the Congress and “urban Naxals” of spreading rumours and misleading people over the citizenship law. He also backed the police force, which has been accused of using excessive force against protestors. Twenty-three people have been killed during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. Sixteen of the deaths have occurred in Uttar Pradesh, which has been rocked by protests over the past week.
Internet services were suspended across several cities in the state, including Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad, Agra, Ghaziabad, Varanasi, Mathura, Meerut, Moradabad, Muzaffarnagar, Bareli, Firozabad, Pilibhit, Rampur, Saharanpur, Shamli, Sambhal, Amroha, Mau, Azamgarh and Sultanpur. Internet services were restored in Aligarh district. They had been suspended on December 15.
Over the last week, thousands of protestors were detained across India, with 3,000 detentions in the state of Assam alone, where 329 people were arrested. On a single day – December 19 – the authorities confirmed 1,200 people were detained in Delhi.
Here are the top updates of the day:
8.51 pm: Priyanka Gandhi demands a judicial inquiry into the deaths of two people during anti-Citizenship Act protests, reports PTI. “The Congress will fight for the families and ensure that justice is done to them,” she says after meeting the families of the deceased in Bijnor. “The party will also raise this issue in Lok Sabha.”
8.12 pm: A 30-year-old man succumbs to his injuries at a hospital, taking the toll in Kanpur during protests against the amended citizenship law to three, reports PTI.
8.09 pm: AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi posts a video of Amit Shah’s speech to counter Modi’s claims that there were no talks on NRC.
8.02 pm: Filmmaker Mira Nair voices concerns over the detention of Sadaf Jafar, an actor in her adaptation of A Suitable Boy. “This is our India now – Appalling: our #SuitableBoy actress, Sadaf Jafar, beaten and jailed for peaceful protest in Lucknow!” she tweets. “Join me in demanding her release.”
Jafar’s arrest was captured in a Facebook live.
7.55 pm: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha President Binay Tamang has called for the withdrawal of the Citizenship Amendment Act, The Telegraph reports. Tamang said on Saturday he has written to President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and chief minister of states apart from West Bengal about how the amended law “goes against the letter and spirit of our Constitution and the idea of India”.
He has raised concerns over the National Register of Citziens, adding that it has worried the Gorkha community after the “bitter experience” in Assam.
7.52 pm: In Mumbai’s Ghatkopar, a pro-Citizenship Amendment Act rally was organised earlier in the day. Protestors lauded the Centre for the legislation.
7.46 pm: Thousands have participated in a march in Mumbai’s Dharavi locality against the amended Citizenship Act and the police action on Jamia students on December 15, reports PTI. Another protest has been held in Malad’s Malvani locality of the city.
6.45 pm: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa backs the police for opening fire in which two protestors were killed on Thursday in Mangaluru, reported The Indian Express. “Police resorted to firing when the mob tried to storm the police station and loot the arms,” he says. “When mob tried to disturb peace and indulge in arson and looting, should the police keep quiet? Are police not duty-bound to protect the innocents and property?”
6.43 pm: The Indian Medical Association says hospitals should be declared as “safe zones” amid reports of police entering facilities while trying to quell anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests, reports PTI. The doctors’ body said hospitals are sacrosanct and exempted from violence even during wars.
“What makes the IMA react today is that disturbing reports of denial of access to medical care are emerging,” it adds. “This is unacceptable. Everyone has the right to access medical care. Visuals of a policeman violently opening an ICU door by stomping is a clear indication of the new truth and the new standards.”
6.32 pm: BJP Working President JP Nadda questions Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s silence on the violence and the damage caused to public property during anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests, reports PTI. Addressing a “BJP thanksgiving” programme in Indore, Nadda asks Gandhi to “speak only 10 lines” on the provisions of the CAA. “He should also speak only two lines on the provisions, which according to him are harming the country,” says Nadda. “It is very unfortunate that the people who come to lead the country do not even know the basics about CAA.”
6.05 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says Modi’s claim of no plan for Pan-India NRC directly contradicts Home Minister Amit Shah’s claim.
5.58 pm: Senior advocate Sanjay Hedge also addresses the same gathering. “All of us fighting this battle are warriors of the Constitution,” he says. “Our Constitution is alive till we are here to fight for it. We have not written this Constitution under normal circumstances. It was written after a lot of thought.”
5.57 pm: Former JNU student and activist Umar Khalid is one of the speakers at the event. “No one can scare the people of India,” he says. “I salute all the people out on the streets. How do we prove our loyalty to our own country? The Indian Muslims are not accidental Muslims, but are Indian Muslims by choice. It is the attempt of the government to distract people from economic issues. NRC and CAA is anti-Indian and we reject it.”
5.56 pm: Hundreds gather at the Musafir Khana Park in Nizamuddin Basti in Delhi for a programme on CAA and NRC, reports PTI.
5.53 pm: The TMC condemns the Uttar Pradesh government for detaining its delegation. The party demands release of its leaders immediately, reports PTI. “Why is the BJP trying to hide the truth?” asks TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee. “They are not allowing anybody to enter Lucknow. We condemn such undemocratic action and attempt by the BJP to turn Uttar Pradesh into a police state.”
5.37 pm: West Bengal minister and state president of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind Siddiqullah Chowdhury threatens to not let Amit Shah step out of the airport whenever he visits Kolkata next if the Citizenship Amendment Act is not withdrawn immediately. “We may not allow him [Shah] to step out of the city airport if necessary,” he adds, according to The Indian Express. “We may gather one lakh people there to stop him.”
5.21 pm: The delegation, which has leaders including Dinesh Trivedi, Mohammed Nadimul Haque, Pratima Mandal and Abir Biswas, was on its way to meet the families of those killed during CAA protests. “As soon as we got down from the airplane we were surrounded by the police,” the delegation said, according to News18. “When we boarded the bus the police made all passengers disembark. We were taken by the police to a secluded spot on the runway. We are sitting on the ground in dharna.”
5.20 pm: A Trinamool Congress delegation has been detained at the Lucknow airport, reports PTI.
4.41 pm: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra visits Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh where two people were killed during anti-CAA protests, reports ANI.
4.40 pm: AMU Vice Chancellor defends the varsity’s decision to set up a one-man judicial panel to inquire into violence on campus. At least 60 students were injured in police action while protesting against the citizenship law and the crackdown at Jamia on December 15, reports PTI. Professor Tariq Mansoor says the inquiry by Justice VK Gupta, a retired chief justice of the Chhattisgarh High Court, should not be confused with a “judicial probe”. which is the prerogative of the state and central government.
Mansoor adds that the inquiry would cover all aspects related to the incidents of violence from December 13 to the morning of December 16. “It would also cover allegations of police excesses made by some students including damage to vehicles,” he says. “It is necessary that such allegations are fully inquired by a competent authority.”
4.30 pm: Congress leader Anand Sharma says Opposition has not brought up the matter of NRC “out of a vacuum”. His comments come after Modi claimed that they never made it, bring it to the Parliament or announce it. “It’s the home minister’s statement in both the Houses, it’s in public domain,” Sharma tells ANI. “That has to be then duly clarified. That has created an environment of fear, insecurity and uncertainty in the country. It’s primarily the govt which is responsible for that.”
4.26 pm: Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma alleges “outsiders’ role” in the incidents of violence reported from various districts of the state, reports PTI.
3.58 pm: “Modiji you should listen, 9 states have said it,” says Gehlot. “Even your partners Bihar CM and Odisha CM who supported you in Parliament are saying they won’t implement NRC. You should understand public sentiment and announce neither NRC in its current form, nor CAA will be implemented.”
3.57 pm: Addressing a crowd in Jaipur, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot reiterates that the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens will not be implemented in the state, reports ANI.
3.56 pm: Former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy meets the families of the two people who died during protests in Mangaluru on December 19, reports ANI.
3.55 pm: Several protests are going on across Chennai, Tamil Nadu, reports PTI. While members of Muslims outfits stage a demonstration in Chepauk, Communist Party of India (Marxist) workers distributed pamphlets in Thousand Lights area.
3.18 pm: “I appeal to everyone protesting in the country to take up the path of non-violence,” Modi says. “Violence will not help anyone, we have to keep away from violence. This is our country, its people are ours.”
3.16 pm: “I’m certain that people who hold the tricolour will raise their voices against the violent protesters and call to bring peace,” the prime minister says. “I want to call upon the people who hold the tricolour to raise their voices against Pakistan-sponsored cross-border terrorism.”
3.14 pm: The prime minister alleges the Congress and its allies come up with new conspiracies from time to time against the ruling BJP.
3.06 pm: “The entire Left front, that is left in just small pockets in the country, is opposing this as well,” Modi says. “Prakash Karat, their senior leader, had also asked for support for religiously persecuted people coming from Bangladesh.”
2.59 pm: Modi criticises West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, says she is trying to spread false rumours. “A few years ago, she stood up in the Parliament and asked to stop the infiltration from Bangladesh and wanted help for the refugees coming in from Bangladesh,” the prime minister says.
2.53 pm: Modi says former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has in the past advocated for the citizenship of the persecuted communities from Bangladesh.
2.51 pm: “Infiltrators never come in light,” the prime minister says. “They never ask for help from the police, never give interviews and just hide. They live via corrupt means through agents. Refugees never hide their identities and infiltrators never reveal themselves.”
2.50 pm: “I want to make it clear Citizenship Amendment Act will not take away anyone’s citizenship, it will provide citizenship,” Modi says. The persecuted communities have been forced to come to India from the three neighbouring countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, and the legislation is supposed to be a relief for them.
2.42 pm: The Citizenship Amendment Act will only apply to the people who have been living in India for several years now, the prime minister says. “No new refugee will benefit from the Citizenship Amendment Act.”
2.40 pm: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi criticises Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, says the two have destroyed the future of the country’s youth. “They can’t face your anger over the lack of jobs and damage they’ve done to the economy,” Gandhi tweets. “That’s why they are dividing our beloved and hiding behind hate. We can only defeat them by responding with love towards every Indian.”
2.37 pm: Modi says 130 crore Indians have no connection to the Citizenship Amendment Act. “A lot of lies are being spread about NRC as well,” he says. “It was made during the Congress regime. Where were the protesters then? We did not make it, nor did we bring it to the Parliament or announce it.”
2.35 pm: “Muslims are being misled. We have always ensured that documents do not come in the way of beneficiaries of our development schemes,” the prime minister says.
2.32 pm: The prime minister says “urban naxals” are claiming that Muslims will be sent to detention centres. “I am surprised that even the well-educated are asking ‘what are detention centres?’” Modi says.
2.31 pm: The prime minister attacks the Congress and other Opposition parties:
2.29 pm: “The policemen who are being subjected to hatred, who are being beaten up, I want to ask those instigating the violence, what will they get?” Modi says. The prime minister says police personnel are being pelted with stones while doing their duty during the Citizenship Act protests.
2.22 pm: The prime minister says that those against the current regime “hate Modi” and can burn as many effigies of the prime minister as they want. “Display all your anger against Modi but don’t burn the autorickshaws that belong to the poor, the homes of the poor,” he says.
2.20 pm: The people of this country have blessed us and the Opposition has not been able to come to terms with it. “This man was elected once, how was he elected again,” the Modi says, taking a dig at other political parties.
2.16 pm: Modi says he challenges the “false rumours” being spread. “The country won’t accept the false claims that I’m taking away peoples’ rights,” he says.
2.15 pm: “I want to ask the people who’re spreading false rumours about CAA, did we ask anyone about their religion or political beliefs when we took the decision to authorise the unauthorised colonies in Delhi?” the prime minister says.
2.14 pm: Modi says in the recently concluded Winter session of the Parliament not just the legislation on unauthorised colonies has been passed but also the Citizenship Amendment Bill. “India’s Parliament has worked for your future and for the oppressed communities,” he says. “Stand up and respect the Indian Parliament, our elected representatives with full force.”
1.59 pm: The prime minister criticises the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government. He claims had the state government not created obstacles, work on Delhi Metro’s Phase four would have started by now.
1.54 pm: The problem of unauthorised colonies remained unsolved for decades, says the prime minister. “The past governments never showed the honesty or desire to solve these problems of the people of the Capital,” he adds.
1.53 pm: The prime minister is listing out the steps taken by his government to regularise Delhi’s unauthorised colonies. He takes a dig at the Opposition, saying the BJP does not leave people out in the cold unlike these parties. “What were these parties doing all these years?” he asks. “These people gave over 2,000 mansions to their people in several posh areas of Delhi,” Modi alleges.
1.49 pm: The BJP and I got the chance to usher in a new dawn for over 40 lakh people in Delhi’s unauthorised colonies by giving them ownership rights to their houses, says the prime minister.
1.48 pm: The prime minister begins his speech with a pitch for “unity in diversity”.
1.42 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi starts addressing the crowd at Ramlila Maidan.
1.06 pm: Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri is addressing the crowd at the moment. He criticises Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for not doing anything to regularise the city’s unauthorised colonies. The public meeting can be followed here:
12.55 pm: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot will lead a “silent and peaceful” march against the citizenship law in Jaipur later in the day, reports PTI. Mobile internet services have been suspended in the city till 8 pm as a precautionary measure.
12.48 pm: Scores of people take out a march in South Delhi in support of Jamia Millia Islamia students and those facing police action for protests against the amended citizenship law, reports PTI.
12.37 pm: The rally was scheduled to begin at 11.30 am, but has not started yet. Crowds of BJP supporters have gathered at Ramlila Maidan.
12.28 pm: Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen says the Citizenship Act and National Register of Citizens are India’s “internal issues”, but adds that it is worrisome that uncertainty could affect neighbours, reports PTI. Momen had cancelled his visit to India earlier this month.
11.56 am: Commercial vehicles will not be allowed from Rajghat to Delhi Gate ahead of Narendra Modi’s rally at Ramlila Maidan, according to Delhi Traffic Police advisory. Restrictions have also been placed on DDU Marg towards Kamla Market Chowk via Vivekanand Marg. Traffic will also be disrupted on Barakhamba Road, Tolstoy Road and Ranjit Singh flyover.
11.50 am: The Jamiat ulema-e-Hind is planning to take out rallies in Kolkata, reports PTI.
11.42 am: The district administration in Mangaluru has relaxed curfew till 6 pm, while prohibitory orders banning large gatherings will remain in force, reports ANI.
11.40 am: Uttar Pradesh DGP OP Singh says 879 people have been arrested in the state so far in connection with the protests, reports ANI. “Preventive action was taken against around 5,000 people across the state,” he adds. “One hundred and thirty five criminal cases have been registered so far, and 288 police personnel have received injuries. Fifteen casualties have happened.”
11.35 am: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has announced Rs 10 lakh compensation for the families of the two people killed during protests in Mangaluru on December 19, reports ANI.
11.15 am: A video from a rally in support of the act in Nagpur organised by the BJP, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Lok Adhikar Manch, and others. They are heard shouting slogans encouraging shooting of protestors. “Whoever wants freedom, let’s give them freedom – all the anti nationals, shoot them.”
11.10 am: Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police OP Singh tells ANI that leaders of the Trinamool Congress are likely to visit Lucknow for protests and that they will not be allowed to attend them because it could “make the atmosphere more tense”.
11.08 am: BJP ally Janata Dal (United) urges the saffron party to hold a meeting of the National Democratic Alliance to discuss implementing the National Register of Citizens across the country, Times Now reports.
11 am: Makkal Needhi Maiam chief Kamal Haasan late on Saturday attacked the central government for the Citizenship Act. “After CAA, their next brainchild is NRC,” he tweeted. “High time, they realise that majority in Parliament doesn’t give them authority to destroy the fabric of my nation.”
10.33 am: Uttarakhand is on alert due to Citizenship Act protests, reports ANI. The leave of all police personnel has been cancelled.
10.30 am: Internet has been restored in Mangaluru, reports India Today.
10.10 am: BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal reiterates that Muslims should be included in the Citizenship Amendment Act. However, they do not bring up the National Register of Citizens.
10 am: A video accessed by NDTV shows an Uttar Pradesh police official opening fire on protestors. This comes after state police chief OP Singh said on Saturday that his personnel had not fired on protestors.
So far, 16 people in the state have died amid massive protests against the Citizenship Act.
9.30 am: Sixty-five people have been arrested in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad district and 350, including a former legislator, booked for allegedly spreading violence during protests against the amended citizenship law, reports PTI.
9.16 am: During last week’s violence in the North East, a 70-year-old Adivasi man was burned to death in Upper Assam’s Tinsukia town.
9.14 am: The Congress was scheduled to hold a “five-hour satyagraha” at Rajghat on Sunday afternoon in protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act. But it was forced to postpone it to Monday afternoon because of Prime Minister Modi’s rally at Ramlila Maidan, reports Hindustan Times.
8.27 am: The Press Association strongly condemns “attack and unnecessary harassment” of journalists covering protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, reports PTI. The Uttar Pradesh correspondent of The Hindu was harassed and verbally abused by Lucknow Police on Friday night.
8.25 am: Congress MP Jairam Ramesh, one of the 59 petitioners against the Citizenship Amendment Act, tells Hindustan Times that the law is “violative of the basic structure of the Constitution”.
8.22 am: Hyderabad MP and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Asaduddin Owaisi addressed a rally in Hyderabad on Saturday night, where people read the Constitution’s Preamble.
“Whoever is against the National Register of Citizens and Citizenship Amendment Act should fly Tricolour outside their homes,” Owaisi told people at the public meeting. “This will send a message to BJP that they have made a wrong and ‘black’ law.”
8.20 am: Internet services have been restored in Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh district, reports ANI. They had been suspended on December 15.
8.15 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a rally at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan amid massive nationwide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. Security has been stepped up in the city, and areas around the venue have been declared no-fly zones.