The Opposition on Monday stepped up protests against the amended Citizenship Act with the Congress holding a ‘Satyagraha for unity’ at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial Rajghat, while demonstrations were held against the law in several States by students and others.
Countering the Opposition offensive, the BJP held a rally in Kolkata in support of the citizenship law that was addressed by party working president J.P. Nadda and several State leaders, who accused the Trinamool Congress and other rival parties of misleading the people.
Thousands of people from Muslim community took to the streets in the Karnataka capital, Bengaluru, against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens following a call by around 35 organisations under the banner of Joint Action Committee of Bengaluru.
Workers beaten up
Demanding the scrapping of the law, activists of the Youth League, a wing of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), organised protest marches to post-offices in various parts of Kerala, where three migrant labourers from West Bengal were assaulted by some unidentified people for allegedly taking part in anti-CAA protests that took place near Kozhikode a day ago.
The Murshidabad natives were beaten up on Sunday night after they came back from a protest march organised at Nadapuram, police said.
Protests continued in Assam too with former Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, founder of the Asom Gana Parishad which is an alliance partner of the ruling BJP in the State, joining a sit-in at a memorial for Mahatma Gandhi atop the Sarania Hill Act in Guwahati.
The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) also staged protests, in which people from different walks of life participated. Five persons, including four in firing by security forces, have lost their lives since December 11.
In the national capital, police detained 46 students outside the Uttar Pradesh Bhavan and 93 near Assam Bhavan while they were protesting against the amended Citizenship Act.
Top Congress leaders including party chief Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, former party chief Rahul Gandhi and general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra participated in the ‘satyagraha’ at Rajghat to “show solidarity” with students agitating against the amended Citizenship Act and all those “suffering due to bad policies of the government.”
Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi read out the Preamble to the Constitution and the party members also observed a one-minute silence.
The protests against the amended Citizenship Act at the Jamia Millia Islamia, where police and protesters had clashed on December 15, entered its eight day, with hundreds continuing to throng the streets outside the university. Students from several schools in Noornagar, Batla House and Okhla also attended the protests on Monday.
The situation was peaceful in Uttar Pradesh, where 18 people had died in widespread clashes during protests last week, with police saying they have arrested the State head of Islamic outfit Popular Front of India (PFI), Wasim, and two others for allegedly masterminding the December 19 violence in Lucknow.
Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma had on Sunday said that authorities suspect the role of PFI and Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) in the violence during the anti-CAA protests.
In Karnataka, curfew was lifted on Monday morning in violence-hit Mangaluru and the city remained largely peaceful. Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa said the State government has decided to conduct both CID and magisterial inquiries into the violent protests against the CAA in Mangaluru last week that had resulted in two deaths.
Hoping that peace would continue across the State, Mr. Yediyurappa said those who were speaking against the CAA were not able to or ready to say how the Act would affect the Muslims.
City police commissioner P.S. Harsha requested the public to share videos or photos of the violence on December 19 for further investigation. The police said the prohibitory orders would be in force in the city till Monday midnight.