Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 January 2020

Scores of activists injured in Delhi in citizenship law protests

Thousands take to streets on Sunday, including students at capital's Jamia Millia Islamia University

More than 100 activists were injured in India’s capital New Delhi on Sunday, after police fired tear gas and struck demonstrators with batons for protesting against a new citizenship law.

Thousands of people on Sunday took to the streets, including students at the Jamia Millia Islamia University.

Three buses were set on fire in the fifth straight day of protests across the country, police officials said.

The Citizenship Amendment Act, which was enacted this month, allows for the fast-tracking of immigration applications from religious minorities including Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, but not Muslims.

Chinmoy Biswal, a top police official, said six officers were injured in an upscale enclave of southern Delhi on Sunday.

Student organisers blamed outsiders for the violence.

“We have time and again maintained that our protests are peaceful and non-violent,” the students said. “We stand by this approach and condemn any party involved in the violence.”

Outside campus, the area around Delhi’s Jamia Nagar, a mainly Muslim area, was deserted with shops and houses locked tight after the violent protests.

“Police have entered the campus by force,” said Waseem Khan, a top official of the university. "No permission was given.

"Our staff and students are being beaten up and forced to leave the campus."

Many of the injured students were taken to nearby hospitals including Holy Family, where about 26 students were treated, said Father George, the hospital spokesman.

“The police beat me mercilessly after pinning me down to the ground,” said Mujeeb Raza, a student who was being treated at the nearby Al Shifa hospital. "My friends weren’t spared either."

Tension also flared in the north-east state of Assam’s largest city, Guwahati, where six protesters were killed after violence that followed the law’s passage.

Demonstrators fear an influx of foreigners will dilute native Assamese people’s political sway and culture.

Five people have been killed in protests against the law that, for the first time in Indian history, grants citizenship on the basis of religion.

About 5,000 people took part in a demonstration in the city on Sunday, with some carrying banners saying: “Long live Assam”.

Updated: December 16, 2019 09:24 AM

SHARE

SHARE