Hundreds of people marched from Jamia Millia Islamia University to Shaheen Bagh in Delhi on Sunday evening to protest against the citizenship law, PTI reported. Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act are continuing across the country, more than a month after it was passed in Parliament. On Sunday, protests were held in places such as Bengaluru, Lucknow, Kerala, Jharkhand, Kolkata, Delhi, Goa, Punjab, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
There were several people dressed as Mahatma Gandhi, BR Ambedkar, and revolutionaries Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev in the march in Delhi. They chanted slogans such as “Azadi” and “CAA-NCR Par Halla Bol”. It also reportedly displayed a mock detention camp inside which children, dressed to show they were from different religious faiths, shouted slogans. Placards that said “We reject CAA, NRC and NPR”, “Hindu Muslim Sikh Isai, Aapas Mein Bhai Bhai” were also on display.
Shaheen Bagh, which has emerged as the epicentre of the protests in Delhi, was busy on Sunday as well. It has been organised mainly by women from the neighbourhood, most of whom are Muslim and visibly so. The Delhi Police that cracked down violently on demonstrations elsewhere was confounded by a legion of women in headscarves, quietly sitting through the night in protest.
The protestors at Shaheen Bagh also observed a two-minute silence on Sunday to show solidarity with Kashmiri Pandits who were forced to flee the Valley on January 19, 1990.
Here are some visuals from Shaheen Bagh on Sunday:
With Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh having become the ground zero of protests against the Citizenship Act in the Capital, several artworks and installations are beginning to appear on the site. From postcards and elaborate posters to a mock detention camp, and a mini replica of India Gate inscribed with the names of those who have died nationwide during the protests, dissent is seeing diverse expressions.
The idea of Shaheen Bagh has spread to other parts of the country. In Kolkata, many women gathered to oppose the citizenship laws at Park Circus area. Similarly, women gathered in Punjab’s Malerkotla area.
In Kerala, a group of women gathered and performed Oppana, a traditional form of social entertainment prevalent in Kerala and parts of Tamil Nadu, to oppose the Citizenship Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens. It’s generally performed at weddings to describe the bride. But this performance instead spoke about the importance of unity.
In Uttar Pradesh, protests continued despite reports that the police had taken away blankets and food meant for protestors at a protest site near the city’s iconic clock tower.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath on Sunday criticised those opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act, and said the country was being “ripped apart” by the propaganda against it. Speaking at a Gorakhpur college as part of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s awareness campaign for the legislation, Adityanath accused Opposition parties of “financing miscreants” for the protests.
“The Citizenship [Amendment] Act is not a law against any citizen of India,” Adityanath said. “It is against those intruders who are responsible for terrorism, extremism and separatism. The country is being ripped apart due to propaganda against CAA, and this is being done by keeping women at the forefront.”
His deputy, Keshav Prasad Maurya, claimed in Vrindavan that those who were opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act are “mentally affected” and should get medical treatment.
Football fans on Sunday used the Kolkata I-League derby at the Salt Lake Stadium to voice their protests. The match between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan saw fans of both sides displaying huge banners to protests against the new law. The East Bengal side displayed the words: “Paper cannot replace land acquired through blood”.
Another display showed a popular Bengali comic book character, Batul the Great, using his muscle power to drive away NRC.
In Madhya Pradesh’s Rajgarh district, clashes broke out between the police and pro-Citizenship Act protestors, ANI reported. The protestors reportedly attacked the police after they used force against them. The police claimed that they had not granted permission for the rally and prohibitory orders were in place in the area.
“Protesters tore the clothes and pulled the hair of officers deployed in the region,” District Collector Nidhi Nivedita said. “I was surprised at how little law meant to them. They were kicking the sub-district magistrate and assaulting officials.”
Protests were also held outside India in places such as Jersey, Chicago and Ohio in the USA on Sunday.
Here are some visuals from protests in other parts of India, such as Pakur in Jharkhand, Ponda in Goa, Solapur in Maharashtra, Bengaluru and Sicar in Rajasthan.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, notified on January 10, 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. At least 26 people died in protests against the legislation last month.
The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims. In Northeastern states, demonstrators feel the Act will erode their ethnic identities by granting citizenship to foreigners on religious grounds. Over the last year, the government has repeatedly claimed that the new citizenship law would be the precursor to a countrywide National Register of Citizens, intended to identify so-called illegal immigrants and deport them. Taken together, it is feared, the law and the register will work towards excluding Indian Muslims from citizenship.