Out of 261 CAA Protests Tracked So Far, 31 Were For, 230 Against
First protests against the Act were reported from Assam, two days after the legislation was passed in the LS.
Protest Monitor is FactChecker.in’s new database of protests for and against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed countrywide application of National Register of Citizens (NRC). Between 11 December 2019, and 7 January, 261 protests have been reported from 24 states and union territories-230 against the Act, and 31 in support.
Protests have been tracked by the FactChecker.in team using news reports and social media posts, and 60 such incidents have been verified by making contact with local police stations. FactChecker.in will continue to cross-check the remaining ones as well as any new ones that get reported.
Protest Monitor is not an exhaustive database, rather a collaborative effort with our readers to document a significant juncture in India’s political history. It follows considerable feedback that the media is not sufficiently documenting pro-CAA protests. In an attempt to bring all protest incidents on one page, we are crowd sourcing inputs (please see the note at the bottom of this story).
First Protest Against CAA Reported from Assam
CAA offers Indian “citizenship to any person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who entered India on or before the 31st day of December 2014”. In conjunction with NRC, its opponents fear, it will deem minorities as well as people from other sections of society without documents as illegal immigrants.
The first protests against the Act were reported from Assam on 11 December, two days after the legislation was passed in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of parliament. Security forces opened fire in Lalungaon, Lachit Nagar and Ganeshguri-Hatigaon areas, leaving three people dead and several others critically injured, as per a report by The Assam Tribune. A 48-hour internet shutdown followed.
The highest number of protests have been reported from the state of Bihar (27), followed by Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Assam with 25 each.
Bihar has reported the highest number of protests (27) against the Act, whereas Maharashtra (6) and Karnataka (5) have reported higher numbers of protests in support of the Act.
Why Has CAA Met With Protests?
Those marching against the CAA have done so for various reasons.
Many have marched against the Act’s discriminatory nature, which excludes migrants or refugees who profess to the Islamic faith from seeking asylum and citizenship in India, explained Shabnam Hashmi, social activist and founder of Act Now For Harmony and Democracy. For example, in Hyderabad, protesters displayed placards with slogans such as “India’s only religion is secularism”, as The Guardian reported.
“Amit Shah has said frequently that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is what follows from the CAA, is an attack on the basis of religion, and will strip Muslims of their citizenship” explained Hashmi.
The NRC has previously been implemented in Assam, causing hundreds of thousands to be “declared as foreigners” in police raids, and be taken to detention centers, as IndiaSpend reported in 2017.
On the other hand, protesters in Assam fear that CAA gives citizenship to Hindu and other immigrants from Bangladesh, which will strain the state’s already limited resources and put the traditional Assamese way of life at risk, as BBC News reported on 13 December 2019.
“The people of Assam will not accept the Act at any cost as it will bring a big threat to the Assamese language, culture,” said Samujjal Kumar Bhattachrya, general secretary of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), as per an India Today reported.
Violence & Internet Shutdowns
From 10 December to 27 December 2019, a total of 327 cases are reported to have been filed, 1,113 arrests made and 5,558 detentions ordered in connection with the protests. As many as 19 people have been reported killed in protests in Uttar Pradesh alone, as per a report in The Hindu.
Since the passage of CAA, 11 instances of internet shutdown have been reported in Uttar Pradesh alone; shutdowns have also been reported from Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and NCT Delhi, as per a recent BBC report.
(This article has been republished in arrangement with Fact Checker)
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