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Citizenship law: As key parties clash over narrative, violence spreads

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on December 17, 2019 Published on December 17, 2019

A protest in Delhi’s Seelampur area   -  DANISH SIDDIQUI

Opposition accuses BJP, PM of sectarian agenda; Modi charges Congress with provoking Muslims

Violence engulfed Delhi’s Seelampur and Uttar Pradesh’s Mau in the last 24 hours as country-wide protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) continued.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the Congress of misleading and provoking the Muslims. At an election rally in Berhait, Jharkhand, Modi dared the Congress and other opposition parties to grant Indian citizenship to all infiltrators. “I dare the Congress, its friends to publicly declare they are prepared to accord Indian citizenship to all infiltrators,” the PM said.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi and other opposition leaders accused the PM of working towards “narrow sectarian interests” instead of appealing for peace. In a memorandum submitted to President Ram Nath Kovind, the opposition leaders said: “The PM, instead of appealing for calm, made a comment which is inconsistent with the stature of the office he holds. He said the rioters could be ‘identified from their clothes’. By any standard, this brand of politics is unjustified.”

Also read: Citizenship (Amendment) Act does not affect any Indian citizen, including Muslims, clarifies Home Ministry

While the mainstream political parties clashed over different narratives around the CAA, protests against the law and the police action on Jamia Millia Islamia students continued in universities and campuses across the country. In parts of Delhi and UP, protests turned violent and some members of the public attacked the police.

Demanding that the amended citizenship law be immediately scrapped, angry protesters torched motor-bikes, pelted stones at police personnel and damaged buses and a police booth in north-east Delhi’s Seelampur.

Police resorted to baton charge and fired tear gas shells to disperse the protesters. Smoke billowed from at least two localities as the standoff continued for around one-and-a-half hours.

In Mau district in UP, the police arrested 24 people for allegedly vandalising a police station and torching several vehicles on Monday as a demonstration against the amended Citizenship Act and police action at Jamia Millia Islamia turned violent.

Published on December 17, 2019
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