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India rings in New Year 2020 with fresh protests against CAA-NRC-NPR

The protesters are objecting to the religion based criteria included in the amended law

Tuesday December 31, 2019 11:21 PM, ummid.com with inputs from Agencies

How India Celebrated New Year 2020

New Delhi/Mumbai: People across the world welcome the New Year 2020 with celebrations. However, in India hundreds of thousands of people, including women and children, greeted the New Year holding protests against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).

Protests erupted in various places of India ever since December 12 when President of India stamped his sign on Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019.

The protesters say that they are not opposed to granting citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Christians and Buddhists from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan as stated in the law. However, they are objecting to the religion based criteria included in the amended law and also feel that CAA is actually brought ahead of National Register of Citizens (NRC) to discriminate Muslims.

Prime Minister Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and other ministers have tried to allay these fears. But, because of contradictory statements coming from the top leadership, those protesting the CAA, NRC and NPR are holding their ground.

Shaheen Bagh New Year Party

Protesters planned three demonstrations in New Delhi, including the area of Shaheen Bagh, where hundreds of residents have blocked a major highway for 18 days, and Jamia Millia Islamia where poetry recitals and speeches were planned by the organisers. Jamia Millia was stormed by police this month.

The protest in Shaheen Bagh is continuing day and night with scores of citizen coming to support it, despite the bitter cold. Some of the students are protesting wearing bandages in one eye to express solidarity with a fellow student who lost his eye in the police crackdown on December 15.

"This action of bandaging one eye is in solidarity with Mohammad Minhajudin who has lost an eye but still no action has been taken against the police officers responsible and the force which created havoc in the campus", Aslam, a protester, said.

NPR first step of NRC

The anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest has now turned into an anti-National Population Register (NPR) protest with students saying this is a step towards the National Register of Citizens.

“New Year’s resolution to defend the constitution,” read the schedule for another protest planned in New Delhi, now in the grip of its second coldest winter in more than a century.

Protest against NPR

"Is it New Year celebration is more important than CAA protest???? If today we gone for Celebration its sure we cant see any celebration in our Life... Join the Protest... Reject new year celebration...", a message posted on DMK official Twitter handler said.

A few Bollywood actors also announced to celebrate the New Year with the students who are protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), NRC and NPR. One of the names is that of Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, who has decided to spend the entire day of January 1 in Delhi's Jamia and Shaheen Bagh areas among the protesters.

Ayyub, who has worked in more than two dozen films like Raees, Tanu Weds Manu Return, Jannat and Tubelight, has said in a message: "Delhi friends, why not celebrate the new year in Shaheen Bagh, I'm there, you guys also come."

In Hyderabad, at least two small groups of demonstrators have been organising flash protests, to skirt police restrictions on larger gatherings.

Jamia Protest Today

Typically, half a dozen demonstrators pop up in public places, such as malls and coffee shops, holding up placards and encouraging passersby to join in, a member of one of the groups, which has held 11 protests, told Reuters.

“Everyday, we are doing something, somewhere,” said the person, who sought anonymity for reasons of security, adding that another protest is planned to be staged on Tuesday night.

Street-side poetry recitals, stand-up comedy, and music performances are also planned in the financial capital of Mumbai, IIM Bangalore and the eastern city of Kolkata.

"The government has imposed a ban on protest. Hence only 04 people - 02 staff members and 02 students, are protesting here at IIM Bangalore", a protester said.

All the four cities have seen large, peaceful protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Citizens’ Register (NRC), which were part of the election manifesto of Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist party.

Earlier in the day, Kerala became the first state in India to pass a resolution against CAA. The resolution asked the Center to revoke the controversial law.

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