World, Asia - Pacific

India: 15 killed in anti-citizenship law protests

Country gripped under wave of protests with police reporting fresh clashes, incidents of violence

Shuriah Niazi   | 21.12.2019
India: 15 killed in anti-citizenship law protests File Photo


Fifteen people were killed in India as protests reverberate across the country against a controversial citizenship law, security officials said Saturday.

Inspector General of Police Praveen Kumar confirmed the death toll to Anadolu Agency saying fresh cases were reported from the northern Uttar Pradesh state.

“Police have arrested 705 people, who were involved in violence. Apart from that 263 policemen were injured, out of whom 57 received gunshot wounds,” said Kumar.

The protests turned violent at some places with vehicles being torched, police said.

A police post was set on fire by protesters in Kanpur city, news agency PTI reported.

Internet services will remain suspended in Lucknow, the state capital, until Monday, said an official.

Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police OP Singh, however, claimed that none of the deaths occurred due to police actions.

On Friday, a large rally was held at Jamia Masjid, a main mosque of the city, from where protesters marched to the Jantar Mantar square.

“We are here to fight against an unjust law that could divide the country on the basis of religion. Every citizen should stand against this discriminatory law,” said Aftab Shakil, a protester.

“We have to stand against this. The government has decided to raise those issues which concern Muslims of India. They have been systematically targeting one particular community,” Raqib Ahmed, another protester told Anadolu Agency.

The Citizenship Amendment Act passed last week grants citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Christians from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, but blocks naturalization for Muslims.

Muslim leaders believe the new law will be linked to a nationwide exercise where every citizen would be asked to prove Indian citizenship.

Meanwhile, an ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Shiromani Akali Dal asked the government on Saturday to include Muslims in the new citizenship law in a bid to quell protests.

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