12/16/2019, 11.05
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Protests across India against the anti-Muslim law

In the capital, clashes between police officers and students from Jamia Millia Islamia University.  More scuffles at Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh.  Demonstrations and strikes from north to south.  The population demands the cancellation of the most divisive law ever approved by Parliament.



New Delhi (AsiaNews) - India is submerged in protests after the approval of the "anti-Muslim" law on citizenship.  During the past weekend, dozens of cities remained blocked by demonstrations, clashes and marches.  The initiative that received the most resonance was that of the students of Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi, one of the most prestigious universities in the country, who went on strike inside the university.  However, for reasons yet to be ascertained, the demonstrations took on a violent form perhaps due to infiltration by hecklers.  In the clashes with the policemen 60 people were injured and another 50 were arrested.  All the detainees were released this morning.

Photos of the scuffles between agents and students of Jamia University spread around the country and aroused wide disdain.  One in particular, that of a man with a helmet and a red T-shirt weilding a baton on three unarmed students, has raised the tone of the controversy (see photo 1).  Other videos posted on the internet record the hours of terror: one shows some wounded students seeking refuge in the university bathroom to escape the "uncontrolled" fury of the police who fired tear gas: another video depicts a column of protesters with hands raised in a sign of surrender.

Meanwhile, there is no sign of diminishing the wave of dissent that has arisen throughout India since the approval of the citizenship law that excludes Muslim migrants.  Today the Delhi authorities have decreed the closure of schools, while the tension remains high in all areas of the capital.  Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh, where there were other clashes yesterday, will remain closed until January 5.  Other demonstrations are recorded in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Patna, Kolkata and Raipur.  In Assam, where the riots began, the authorities eliminated the curfew for a few hours, to allow the population to go to the market and attend to daily chores.

On December 12, the Indian president signed one of the most "divisive" laws issued by the Parliament: the Citizenship Amendment Bill (Cab), a rule that makes it easier to obtain naturalization if you are a "persecuted minority" in Pakistan, Afghanistan and  Bangladesh proves to live in India since 2015. The list includes Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Christians, Sikhs and Parsis who suffer discrimination and marginalization in those three countries;  at the same time, it excludes equally persecuted Muslim minorities, such as the Shiites and Ahmadis.

 According to activists, Catholics and Muslims who defend the rights of the entire population, the law wants to polarize the communities and divide them on confessional lines.  According to Lenin Raghuvanshi, executive director of the People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (Pvchr) of Varanasi, it "destroys the spirit of tolerance in India.  It is based on discrimination, submission and Islamophobia ”.  For Fr. Cedric Prakash, a Jesuit activist, it is "another nail on the coffin of the Constitution and our democracy".

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