Asia - Pacific

India says will ensure no citizen is unduly harassed

Authorities try to calm nationwide protests against controversial citizenship law

Ahmad Adil   | 20.12.2019
India says will ensure no citizen is unduly harassed People shout slogans during a demonstration against India’s new citizenship law in New Delhi, India on December 19, 2019.( İmtiyaz Khan - Anadolu Agency )


Indian authorities said Friday they will ensure no citizen is "unduly harassed" as protests reverberate across the country against a controversial citizenship law. 

"Citizenship of India may be proved by giving any document relating to date of birth or place of birth or both. Such a list is likely to include a lot of common documents to ensure that no Indian citizen is unduly harassed or put to inconvenience," an official account of the spokesperson of the Home Ministry tweeted on Friday evening.

The country is gripped under a wave of protests against the law which is seen as discriminatory against Muslims.

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 would be linked to the National Registration of Citizens, an exercise where every citizen would be asked to prove Indian citizenship.

In a bid to calm these fears, the spokesperson said that citizens will not have to prove ancestry solely through documents and witness accounts will be considered admissible evidence.

The authorities have imposed curfew at various places where demonstrations have turned violent.

The protests have left eight people dead amid a wave of detentions by security officers including of prominent activists and historians.

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