Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Gali Somashekara Reddy on Friday issued a warning to those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens. Reddy, at a rally marked by slogans of “Jai Shri Ram”, said amid applause: “If you want to live in this country, you have to live according to our customs.”
“You are a minority,” Reddy told the protestors, according to Times Now. “Imagine your situation if the majority takes to the streets.”
The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims.
Massive protests have taken place against the Act over the last three weeks. At least 26 people have been killed – 19 in Uttar Pradesh, five in Assam and two in Karnataka’s Mangaluru city – as police have clashed with the protestors. The police have been accused of using excessive force against the protestors.
The Uttar Pradesh Police has charged three activists in Varanasi with promoting enmity between groups and harming national integration by making and distributing pamphlets against the Act and the register. The pamphlet, issued on December 18, contained a call for protests on December 19, the day which saw the maximum amount of violence and use of arbitrary police power against citizens.
On Friday, Bengaluru saw large protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens. One demonstration was held at the Eidgah-e-Jadeed mosque. Another protest was held at the city Town Hall.
The National Register of Citizens is a proposed exercise to distinguish between Indian citizens and undocumented immigrants living in India. One such exercise, carried out in Assam last year, led to the exclusion of 19 lakh people.