The police in Jharkhand’s Dhanbad city on Tuesday filed sedition charges against more than 3,000 people for protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
The police’s move was confirmed by Dhanbad Senior Superintendent of Police Kishore Kaushal, Shadab, a lawyer, told Scroll.in. He said the protestors were now discussing the option of mass surrender instead of applying for bail.
The first information report, which Scroll.in accessed, shows that the protestors have been charged under 11 sections of the Indian Penal Code, including Section 124-A, which relates to sedition. Seven people – Mohammad Sayyed Shahbaz, Mohammad Shajit alias Shahid, Haji Arif Zamir, Mohammad Saddam, Ali Akbar, Maulana Gulam Nabi and Mohammad Naushad – were named in the FIR, and 3,000 were unnamed persons.
Scroll.in tried to get in touch with Kaushal as well as Dhanbad Superintendent of Police R Ramkumar, but they did not respond to our calls. We will update this story as and when they respond.
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. At least 26 people died in last month’s protests against the citizenship law. Of these, 19 people died in Uttar Pradesh, five in Assam and two in Karnataka.
On December 31, the Meerut Police in Uttar Pradesh had added sedition charges against protestors arrested during demonstrations on December 20. This came a day after a senior police officer was caught on camera telling protestors to “go to Pakistan”.