Citizenship Act protests: Thousands held across India for defying ban

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Protests are taking place all over India

Police detained more than 100 protesters in key Indian cities on Thursday (Dec 19) as they defied a ban on protests that the authorities hoped would stop widespread demonstrations against a new citizenship law. It cleared questions on relation between NRC and CAA, who would be affected by the Act, documents required for possible nationwide NRC, citizenship basis and exclusions under NRC.

He said BJP's rivals are protesting for vote bank politics while ignoring the plight of minorities of three neighbouring countries living in India.

This has been done after Thursday's protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) turned violent in Lucknow and Sambhal and led to large scale destruction of public and private property.

Fourteen Delhi metro stations were shut including one near police headquarters, besieged by protestors earlier this week, as some roads into the megacity were blocked, causing huge traffic jams.

Security forces in the capital have fired some 450 tear gas shells in the past five days, the Hindustan Times daily reported.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has dug his heels in over the law that lays out a path for people from minority religions in neighboring Muslim countries - Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan - who had settled in India before 2015 to obtain Indian citizenship. It does not apply to Muslims.

However, Mr Modi said the law "will have no effect on citizens of India, including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Christians and Buddhists".

On Wednesday, the authorities tightened restrictions on protesters, expanding a blockade of the Internet and a curfew in Assam.

Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) were also witnessed in several other areas in the national capital including in Jamia Millia Islamiya, Seemapuri, Jantar Mantar, India Gate and northeast Delhi's Seelampur, the site of large scale violence by protestors on Tuesday. "People have been forced to come out on to the streets", said 55-year old Mahroof Ahmed Khan, a resident, as he walked through the demonstration.

A student of Delhi University Arunima Das said she had joined the protest to voice support for her Muslim friends.

A man injured during the protests on that day told the BBC a policeman had shot him with a pistol or revolver.

But others allege the law is a crudely disguised ploy to deport millions of Muslims, as a new citizens' register is trying to weed out foreigners.

In a strongly worded editorial, the Indian Express newspaper on Friday said the government must do all it can "to keep the peace" in the country, home to 200 million Muslims.

India is also building a detention center for some of the tens of thousands of people the courts are expected to ultimately determine have entered illegally.

Home Minister Amit Shah told media that "both my government and I are firm like a rock that we will not budge or go back on the citizenship protests". But critics say its actual agenda is to marginalise India's Muslim minority.

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