Key Highlights: Protests Against Citizenship Act in NE, WB, Delhi
Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, continued on Saturday, 14 December, in West Bengal, Delhi’s Jantar Mantar and in the Northeast, which saw several incidents of arson and the death of a person.
The Congress leadership tore into the government with allegations of dividing the nation, while Union Minister Amit Shah assured the northeastern states that their "culture, social identity, language and political rights will remain untouched".
Here are the day’s highlights:
- An oil tanker was set ablaze in Assam's Sonitpur district, killing its driver. He is the state’s third casualty since the protests began.
- Several buses and portions of a railway station complex in West Bengal was set on fire by protesters. Five empty trains were set on fire at Lalgola rail station in Murshidabad district, according to NDTV.
- A large protest erupted against the Act in Delhi's Jantar Mantar. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) closed the entry and exit gates at Janpath metro station in view of this.
- Employees of the Assam government announced that they will go for cease work on 18 December in protest against the amended Citizenship Act.
- Curfew was relaxed in Meghalya’s Shillong from 10 am to 7 pm on Saturday. Curfews in Assam’s Guwahati and Dibrugarh were also relaxed.
- The Congress leadership in their Bharat Bachao Andolan launched an attack on the Modi government over alleged attempts to divide the nation, with party chief Sonia Gandhi claiming that the Act would “shred India's soul” and vowing to fight to protect democracy and the Constitution.
- AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi has filed a petition before the Supreme Court challenging the Citizenship Amendment Act, Lawyer Nizam Pasha told ANI.
- Jamia Millia Islamia University, after postponing a semester exam, declared winter vacation from Saturday amid massive protests. The university will now open on 6 January 2020.
- The US, in an advisory, asked its citizens in the northeastern states to exercise caution following the protests and violence. The UK Foreign Office said British citizens “should exercise caution” in northeast India while the French foreign ministry alerted citizens to “general strikes, demonstrations and scuffles with the police”. The Israeli government asked its citizens not to travel to Assam and to cut short visits to the Northeast.
- State governments have no powers to reject the implementation of the Citizenship Act as the legislation was enacted under the Union List, a top official said. The statement came after chief ministers of West Bengal, Punjab, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh announced that the law is "unconstitutional".
(With inputs from PTI, ANI and NDTV)
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