Citizen Bill Spur Protests In India

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Burnt lorries By Angry Protesters.
Burnt lorries By Angry Protesters.

So much tension in the air, protesters ranting with different sorts of inscription on placards. They fear the bill will encourage illegal migrants to the region.

At least two people have been killed in India Assam State. According to reports, police clash with protesters opposing a new law that would make it easier for non-Muslims minorities from neighboring countries to seek citizenship.

Police in Assam’s main city of  Guwahati on Thursday fired bullets and tear gas as a group of protesters demonstrated in the streets, defying a curfew imposed the previous day.

India’s associated news agency confirmed that two protesters had died from gunshot wounds and hundreds injured.

India deployed thousands of troops to the northeast State of Assam after protesters came out en masse to protest against the bill they fear will encourage Hindus from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan to settle in the region.

What led to this chaotic situation in the region was that the Indian government approved legislation granting citizenship to migrants from some neighboring countries, apart from Muslims. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government has said the CAB is meant to protect besieged minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) passed by parliament’s upper house on Wednesday blocks naturalization for Muslims from neighboring countries. A fact critics says violate India’s secular constitution

Resistant to the bill have been strongest in the Assam State where a movement against undocumented Migrants has been brewing for decades.

The government has said the new law will be followed by a national citizenship register which will put the onus on Muslims to prove they are original residents of India and not refugees from these three countries, potentially rendering some of them stateless.

One begins to wonder if this is a good moment for such developments in Assam, occurring just days ahead of an annual summit in which Modi plans to host  Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as part of his campaign to move high-profile diplomatic events outside Delhi to different parts of India, to showcase its diversity.

To many of the protesters, President Modi, is playing politics with a region that has  a strong history of Ethnic and religion tension, spreading an open hands to more outsiders.

Ojo Oriyomi Ademola
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