Five Left parties on Thursday announced a seven-day protest programme against the Citizenship Amendment Act, the National Population Register, and the National Register of Citizens from January 1. The parties will organise a general strike on January 8.

The Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)-Liberation, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Revolutionary Socialist Party, and the the All India Forward Bloc released a joint statement about the protest. The population register and the citizenship tests were an “assault on our Constitution”, they added. The protests will also be “against the mounting miseries on the people due to economic recession”, and “solidarity with the working class”.

The Census of India website has described the population register as “the first step towards the creation of a National Register of Citizens”. The Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved funds of Rs 3,900 crore to update it.

“The Left parties strongly condemn atrocities unleashed by the police on peaceful protests by civilians in BJP-ruled states, particularly Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Tripura and in Delhi where the police is directly under the Union Home Ministry,” the statement added. “The protests shall continue peacefully.”

The Citizenship Amendment Act has sparked nationwide protests since being passed in Parliament on December 11. The legislation provides citizenship to people from religious minority groups from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, provided they have lived in India for six years. The cut-off-date is December 31, 2014. The law has been criticised widely for excluding Muslims.