The Citizenship Amendment Act protests (also known as the CAA and NRC protests, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and National Register of Citizens protests, or the CAB and NRC protests) in India are concerned with the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), which was enacted into law on 12 December 2019, and with the proposals to enact a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC).
The protests began in early 2019 in the states of Meghalaya, Mizoram and Manipur, but shifted to the state of Assam after assurances over the Inner Line Permit (ILP) were given by the BJP. By mid-December, the protests spread across India, though the concerns of the protesters vary.
The proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be an official record of all legal citizens of India where individuals would have to provide a prescribed set of documents issued before a specified cutoff date for inclusion in the register. The exercise of the NRC has already been carried out in the state of Assam. Those who fail to qualify for the NRC will be able to avail the benefits of the CAA if they claim to be religious minorities fleeing persecution from the listed countries.
Protesters in Assam and other northeastern states do not want Indian citizenship to be granted to any refugee or immigrant, regardless of their religion, as they fear it would alter the region's demographic balance, resulting in a loss of their political rights, culture, and land. They are concerned that it will motivate further migration from Bangladesh as well as violate the Assam Accord, which was a prior agreement reached with the central government on migrants and refugees.
Protesters throughout India, see the new law as discriminating against Muslims and as unconstitutional; they are demanding the amendment to be scrapped and the nationwide NRC to be not implemented. They are concerned Muslim citizens of India will be rendered stateless and put into detention camps, by the proposed nationwide NRC in combination with the CAA. They are also concerned that all citizens will be affected by the bureaucratic exercise of the NRC where they will have to prove their citizenship for inclusion in the registry. The protesters have raised voices against authoritarianism, the police crackdown in other universities and suppression of protests.
The protests started in Assam on 4 December 2019, after the bill was introduced in parliament. Later on, protests erupted in Northeast India, and subsequently spread to the major cities of India. On 15 December, major protests took place near Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi and Aligarh Muslim University. As the protests spread, private and public property was burnt and destroyed by mobs, and some railway stations were vandalized. Police forcibly entered the campus of Jamia, used batons and tear gas on the students, and more than 200 students were injured and around 100 were detained overnight in the police station. The police action was widely criticized and resulted in students across the country protesting in solidarity.
The protests have resulted in thousands of arrests and 27 deaths as of 27 December 2019. Two 17-year old minors were among those reported to have been killed due to police firing live ammunition on protesters in Assam. On 19 December, the police issued a complete ban on protests in several parts of India. As a result of defying the ban, thousands of protesters were detained. So far, at least eight states have announced that they will not implement the Act or the National Register of Citizens (NRC). While one state and two union territories have refused to implement the CAA, three other states have only declined the implementation of the NRC. However the Union Home Ministry said that states lack the legal power to stop the implementation of Citizenship Amendment Act.
The Act also seeks to relax the requirement of residence in India for citizenship by naturalization from 11 years to 5 years for migrants covered under the Act. According to the Intelligence Bureau, the immediate beneficiaries of the new law will be 25,447 Hindus, 5,807 Sikhs, 55 Christians, 2 Buddhists and 2 Parsis.
The passage of the Act sparked massive protests in India. Protesters in Assam and other northeastern states oppose the grant of Indian citizenship to any refugee or immigrant, regardless of their religion, because they fear it would alter the region's demographic balance. They have campaigned since the 1970s against all refugees, and they fear that the new law will cause a loss of their political rights, culture and land. They are also concerned that it will trigger more migration from Bangladesh as well as violate the Assam Accord, which was a prior agreement reached with the central government on migrants and refugees. After the act was passed, protests in the northeastern region turned violent. Authorities had arrested over 3000 protesters as of 17 December 2019, and some news outlets have described these protests as riots. Protesters say that the Act violates Clause 5 and Clause 6 of the 1985 Assam Accord.
Critics have stated that the Amended Act is unconstitutional. The major opposition political parties state that it violates Constitution's Article 14, one that guarantees equality to all. They allege that the new law seeks to make Muslims second-class citizens of India, while preferential treating non-Muslims in India.
Critics of the Act have stated that due to the National Register of Citizens (NRC), Muslims could be made stateless, while the Citizenship Amendment Act would be able to shield people with Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian identity as a means of providing them with Indian citizenship even if they failed to prove that they were citizens of India under the stringent requirements of the NRC. Some critics allege that it is a deliberate attempt at disenfranchising and segregating Muslims in line with the ethnonationalistHindutva ideology of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The home minister Amit Shah had previously set a deadline for the implementation of a countrywide NRC by stating that the register would be rolled out before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The Act was criticized by various NGOs, students bodies and liberal, progressive, and socialist organizations across the country, with the Indian National Congress and other major political parties announcing their staunch opposition. Protests led by these groups are concerned that the new law discriminates against Muslims, and believe that Indian citizenship should also be granted to Muslim refugees and immigrants. The states of Rajasthan, West Bengal, Kerala, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh – all ruled by non-BJP political parties – have announced that they will not implement either the National Register of Citizens (NRC) or the Citizenship Amendment Act. The states of Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha have however refused to only implement the NRC, while the state of Punjab and the union territories of Delhi and Puducherry have refused to implement the Act while only expressing disapproval of the NRC.
The State Bank of India estimates a growth rate of 4.6% for the financial year 2020, which would be the lowest since the 2008 Global Recession where the growth rate had been 3.9%. The unemployment rate of India was reported to have reached a 45 year high of 6.1% in the financial year of 2017-2018. The Center for Monitoring Indian Economy stated the unemployment rate to be 8.45% with a rate of 37.48% for the 20-24 age group and 12.81% for the 25-29 age group in October 2019. According to the 2019 report of the Pew Research Center, 393.7 million jobs are in a vulnerable state.
The Oxfam India data states that the richest 1% of the population's control over the country's wealth increased from 58% to 73% between 2018-2019, while the wealth of the poorest 50% increased by 1%. According to Nisha Agarwal, CEO of Oxfam India, "the billionaire boom is not the sign of a thriving economy but the symptom of a failing economic system".
Protesters have agitated against the economic distress and expressed support for labour unions opposing the government's "anti-labour policies" Farmers and labour unions have been agitating against the economic policies of the government have also demanded for the withdrawal of the CAA and the associated NRC-NPR process. Various opposition parties supporting the protests have announced that they will bring up economic crisis as an issue of protest alongside CAA and NRC. Several opposition and protesting leaders have stated that the issue of CAA and NRC were brought about to divert the political discourse away from the economic condition of the country.
Timeline of the protests
The Union Cabinet clears the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 for introduction in the parliament.
After the bill is cleared, violent protests erupt in Assam, especially in Guwahati, and other areas in the state.
After receiving assent from the President of India, the bill assumes the status of an act. The act would come into force on 10 January, chosen by the Government of India, and would be notified as such.
Dipanjal Das and Sam Stafford die due to police firing during a protest in Guwahati.
A group of artists in Guwahati stage a concert in protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019.
Police forcefully enter the campus of Jamia Milia Islamia university and detain students. According to video footage, the police used batons and tear gas on the students. More than two hundred students were injured and a hundred were detained. The police action was widely criticized, and resulted in protests across the country. There are also allegations that the police attacked students who were not part of the protests.
Protests are held outside the campus of the Aligarh Muslim University. In the evening, police officers forcefully enter the campus and attack students. At least 80 students were injured.
In Lucknow, police prevents around 300 students of Nadwa University from staging a peaceful protest outside of the campus; clashes ensue later. Around 15 to 20 students are injured and around 30 students are charged by the police for attempt to murder and violence.
Violent clashes occur in Delhi's Seelampur area. Police retaliates with tear gas and batons against the stone throwing protesters. Several protesters and officers are injured. A police station is set on fire and buses are vandalized in the area.
The Supreme Court of India hears 60 petitions challenging the Act and declined to stay implementation of CAA. 22 January 2020 is set as the next date of hearing on the constitutional validity of the act.
A statement "condemning the recent police action and brutalization of students at Jamia Millia University and Aligarh Muslim University" was signed by signatories people from more than 1,100 academic institutions across the world.
Various administrative authorities impose bans against public gatherings, especially in BJP ruled states such as Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and parts of Delhi, where the police comes under the BJP-ruled central government. Access to mobile-based internet was shut down in certain places in Delhi and Bangalore.
Internet is suspended in certain regions of Uttar Pradesh including the state capital, Lucknow where data and text services are restricted till noon of 21 December 2019. Internet services are also suspended in Sambhal, Aligarh, Mau, Ghaziabad, and Azamgarh districts.
Protest meetings are held defying bans in Delhi's Red Fort and Bengaluru. Tens of thousands of people protest in Hyderabad, Patna, Chandigarh, Mumbai and other cities. Calls are made on social media platforms asking people to turn up and protest peacefully.
In Delhi, at least 700 flights are delayed and more than 20 cancelled due to traffic jams caused by police closing the roads to stop protests.
In Bengaluru, historian Ramchandra Guha along with several other professors are detained by the police. According to the police around 200 protesters have been detained in Bengaluru.
Curfew is imposed in Mangaluru until 20 December, after violent clashes and the death of 2 people due to police firing. The police later allegedly forced its way into the hospital where the 2 victims were brought.
The Karnataka government announces an ex-gratia compensation of ₹10 lakh (US$14,000) each to the families of the two men killed in violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Mangaluru on 19 December. However, the compensation was withheld on 26 December, impending an enquiry on the killed men.
The UP government creates a panel to assess the damage to the property and to recover the losses by seizing the property of the alleged protesters.
Protests involving 80,000 protesters conclude peacefully in Bangalore.
Dibrugarh police arrests 55 people for involvement in acts of violence in the district during protests against the Amendment.
Unidentified people assault three migrant labourers from West Bengal for allegedly taking part in anti-CAA protests.
An FIR is registered against AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan over charges of "sharing an objectionable post" on the social media against the Amendment.
In Sambhal, UP, the government sends notices to 26 people for their alleged involvement in damaging properties during protests and asked them to explain their position or pay for the loss due to damage of property. The losses to the property are assessed to be ₹11.66 lakh (US$16,000).
357 people including 75 women, protesting against CAA and police atrocities are detained by the Delhi police near the U.P. Bhawan.
The Indian National Congress, on its foundation day, undertakes a flag march in Mumbai and coins the slogan "Save Bharat-Save Constitution". Similar marches are held in many parts of the country.
In Meerut, U.P. government demands ₹25,000 (US$350) each from more than 140 people, a total of ₹40 lakh (US$56,000) as penalty for damages caused during the protest on 20 December.
Shaheen Bagh protest, which started on 15 December and participated mainly by house wives and old women with their children, gathered main stream media attention on 29 December. Despite Delhi experiencing the second coldest night in the last 100 years the women protesters sit on an indefinite protest at Shahinbagh, .
Shaheen Bagh protests on 4 January 2020. Protesters are still gathered blocking a major New Delhi road for over three weeks. (Bottom) Huge anti-CAA NRC banners across a footbridge at Shaheen Bagh.
About 50,000-170,000 people participate in an anti-CAA rally organized by Muslim organizations in Kochi. The numbers swelled to 500,000, the unusually large size of the protest causes a complete standstill of traffic throughout the city.
UP Police admits that it had wrongfully accused and arrested poor innocent people; and releases four minors from jail due to lack of evidence.
More than 100,000 protesters attend a protest march named "Million March" against the Citizenship Amendment Bill held in Hyderabad.
In Bangalore hundreds of protesters participate in a rally and accuse Modi government of attempts to divide India on the basis of religion, and distracting people from the issues of economic slowdown and job losses in the country.
The Chief Justice of India (CJI) during a petition hearing, explained the lawyer who had filed the petition, "Country is going through difficult times. Endeavour should be for peace. Such petitions don’t help". The petition wanted the court to declare the CAA constitutionally valid and sought legal action against whoever protesting against the Act. He also explained the petitioner, "[...]There is anyway a presumption of constitutionality. You have been a student of law, you would know[...]”.
Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) along with All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) along with 30 other organisations and artist communities organised protests against CAA in Guwahati. They demanded "corruption-free, foreigner-free, terrorism-free and pollution-free Assam" from the Chief Minister of Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal rather then implementation CAA-NRC.
The Citizenship Amendment Act comes into force.
PM Modi visited Kolkata on a two day official visit. Hundreds of people protested against CAA at the Kolkata airport.
Several parties and student unions launched a protest at the Dorina Crossing at Esplanade in Kolkata. SFI leader stated that the protests would continue till Sunday, until PM Modi (who had been visiting the city) was in Kolkata.
A "Tiranga Rally" against the CAA was held in Hyderabad, with thousands of people displaying the national flag. Police officers were seen caning peaceful protesters.
Pradyot Manikya Debbarma, the royal scion, led the largest protest in Tripura so far consisting of thousands of people. Debbarma stated that beneficiaries of CAA will not be allowed to settle in Tripura. He added that the state has already accommodated many migrants from East Pakistan and further immigration due to CAA will endanger the threatened indigenous residents of Tripura.
In Kolkata, the protesters outside the venue of PM Modi's speech were detained by the police.
Thousands of people join the anti CAA protests at Jogeshwari in Mumbai. Slogans such as "I Am From Gujarat, My Documents Burned in 2002", "No CAA, Boycott NRC, Stop Dividing India, Don't Divide us", "Save Constitution", were displayed on the banners.
The congress party demanded the withdrawal of CAA, and stopping of the process to update NPR. It called NPR as a 'disguised NRC'.
A meeting of 20 opposition parties in Delhi released a statement demanding a revocation of the CAA and asked all the Chief Ministers who have refused to implement the NRC in their states to stop the work of updating the National Population Register, as it is the foundation of NRC.
At Jamia Millia Islamia, several student groups protested outside the office of Vice-Chancellor Najma Akhtar asking to reschedule the exam dates, filing a case against Delhi Police and ensuring the safety of students. The VC announced in the afternoon, that a case will be filed against police on 14 January.
The Kerala government approached Supreme court to challenge the CAA under section 131 of the constitution and becomes the first state to do so.
More than 200,000 people join the Anti-CAA protests in Mangalore, hundreds of people came to the venue in boats carrying Indian flags. Activists Harsh Mander and Kannan Gopinathan gave speeches during the protests. The protests ended peacefully with the singing of National anthem.
Women conducted sit in protests at Patna's Sabzibagh and Kolkata's Park Circus along with Delhi's Shaheen Bagh.
A petition was filed in Gujarat High court asking its intervention to allow citizens to hold Anti-CAA protests in Ahmedabad. The petitioners stated that Gujrat Police did not grant them permission for peaceful protests but granted permission to 62 programmes held by the BJP to support the CAA. The Court asked the police to decide timely on the protests application.
A Delhi court granted bail and released Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad aka "Raavan", who had been arrested for his protest in December against CAA at Jama Masjid, Delhi.
Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) postpones all exams due to the ongoing CAA protests.
Police in Chennai banned all protests in the city for a period of 15 days. 5 women and 1 man (including a physically disabled person) were detained by the police for protesting against CAA.
Between 16 and 18 December, a statement of solidarity “condemning the recent police action and brutalization of students at Jamia Millia University and Aligarh Muslim University” had acquired 10,293 signatories from over 1,100 universities, colleges and academic institutions across the world. Scholars from major academic institutions in India, including JNU, Delhi University, all the Indian Institutes of Technology, the Indian Statistical Institute, the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, among many others had signed the solidarity statement. On 16 December, professors and students of IIM-Ahmedabad were detained by police citing demonstrating protest against the Act is illegal.
On 19 December police banned protests in several parts of India with the imposition of Section 144 which prohibits the gathering of more than 4 individuals in a public space as being unlawful, namely, parts of the capital New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Karnataka, including Bangalore. As Section 144 was imposed, the students of IIM-Bangalore demonstrate their protest peacefully by laying shoes and placards infront of the institute gate, which they called the Shoe Satyagraha. Following IIM-Ahmedabad and Bangalore, IIM-Calcutta raised their voice peacefully in solidarity against the Act and the brutal misconduct by police against the students who were protesting all over the country. Several institutes in Kozhikode including IIM-Kozhikode, NIT-Calicut, Government Medical College, Kozhikode and Farook College expressed their protest from 19 to 20 December. Police in Chennai denied permission for marches, rallies or any other demonstration. Internet services were also shutdown in some parts of Delhi. As a result of defying the ban, thousands of protesters were detained, primarily in Delhi, including several opposition leaders and activists such as Ramachandra Guha, Sitaram Yechury, Yogendra Yadav, Umar Khalid, Sandeep Dikshit, and D Raja. Despite the fear of being detained, tens of thousands of people protested in Hyderabad, Patna, Chandigarh, Mumbai and other cities. Civil society groups, political parties, students, activists and ordinary citizens used social medial platforms to ask people to turn up and protest peacefully. The protests involving 20,000 protesters concluded peacefully at the August Kranti Maidan at Mumbai.
Mass Gathering of Anti Citizenship Act protests at Chandmari, Guwahati, Assam
A Rangoli created as a part of protests against anti Citizenship Act 2019 at Chandmari, Guwahati, Assam
Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 had been started by students of Cotton University a few days before the controversial bill was produced on the floor of the Lok Sabha. On 29 November, the students staged a silent protest outside the university campus. After the bill was cleared on 4 December 2019, violent protests erupted in Assam, especially in Guwahati, and other areas in the state.Reuters reported that the protests in the state were the most violent in the recent days, and added that at least two people were killed till 16 December. Buildings and railway stations were set on fire.
The Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 made 2014 as the cut-off date to determine illegal foreigners but according to people opposing the act, Assam bore the brunt of immigrants from 1951 to 1971, while other states did not. The protesters were angry that the new law would allow thousands of Bengali speaking non-Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh to become legal citizens of India, thereby influencing the political and cultural environment of Assam. Thousands of members and workers of All Assam Students Union (AASU) and 30 other indigenous organizations, artists, cultural activists of the state had gathered at Latasil ground in the capital city of Assam to stage Satyagraha against the Act on 16, 17 and 18 December.Assam Police subsequently detained the general secretary, the adviser to the AASU and over 2,000 protesters in Guwahati during a protest rally on 18 December.
On 12 December, security personnel, including CRPF jawans with batons and shields barged into the office of a private TV channel of Assam, Prag News in Guwahati and attacked its staffers with batons during protests against the amended Citizenship Act. On 20 December, Assamese language newspapers reported about violent incidents occurring during the protests across the state. Use of excessive force by the police was also reported. In Dibrugarh, the All Assam Student's Union members vandalised the district office of the Asom Gana Parishad which had voted in favor of the act as part of the ruling Coalition.
Peasant leader, Akhil Gogoi, was arrested in Jorhat on 12 December as a preventive measure by authorities to prevent him from organizing any protests. A special court of National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Guwahati on Tuesday charged him under sion for "maoist links" and sent him to 10-day NIA custody. The Assam Human Rights Commission has decided to take suo moto cognizance of reports of alleged torture upon Akhil Gogoi. According to the Assam government, people have been arrested by the Assam Police for their alleged involvement in the violent incidents during the anti-CAA protests across the state, as of 17 December.
In Dispur, several thousands of protesters broke down police barricades to protest in front of the Assam Legislative Assembly building. Demonstrations were also held in Agartala. On 15 December 2019, a concert was staged by artistes of Assam as a protest against the CAA. The concert was themed as 'No CAA, Concert for peace and harmony'. Along with music, paintings were also demonstrated in the event.
Access to the internet was restricted in Assam by the administrative authorities. A curfew was also declared in Assam and Tripura due to the protests, leading to army deployment as protesters defied the curfews. Railway services were suspended and some airlines started to waive rescheduling or cancellation fees in those areas. Officials reported that at least four people died after clashes with police in Guwahati, Assam. Dipanjal Das and Sam Stafford died due to police firing on 12 December. On 15 December, Gauhati Medical College and Hospital official stated that Ishwar Nayak died on the night of 14 December and Abdul Alim died on 15 December morning. Both of them had been admitted to the hospital after suffering gunshot wounds. As of 15 December, it was reported that at least 6 people had died due to police firing during the protests. After ten days of restriction, mobile internet services in the state was restored from 20 December although the Gauhati High Court had ordered the government of Assam to restore the service by 5 pm on 19 December. By 22 December, the number of arrested people rose to 393 with 28 cases being registered for making offensive and provocative posts on social media.
On 21 December, an all-woman protest was demonstrated across Assam. Senior citizens across the state staged protests against the Citizenship Act on 23 December. At Chowkidinghee playground, Dibrugarh, 24 December saw one of the largest mass gatherings of CAA protests in Assam organised by All Assam Students' Union.
On 8 January, PM Modi, had to cancel his visit to Assam, while the CAA protests continue in the state. AASU had planned huge protests during Modi's visit. Thousands of people joined the anti CAA protests at Dibrugarh, Guwahati and other parts of Assam. The protesters dressed up in traditional dress of the region and sang devotional songs during the protest. The protesters also demanded the release of Akhil Gogoi and called the Modi government, a dictatorship. On 9 January, Musical protests against CAA were planned at Gauhati Club in Assam by AASU, along with 30 other organisations and artist communities.
Several protests marches with thousands of protesters were held in Tripura. On 12 December BBC reported that army was deployed in the state of Tripura and around 1800 people were arrested. Around 200 protesters were deatined by police during a protest in the capital city of Agartala. On 11 December, Pradyot Manikya Debbarma, the royal scion, led the largest protest in Tripura so far consisting of thousands of people. Debbarma stated that beneficiaries of CAA will not be allowed to settle in Tripura. He added that the state has already accommodated many migrants from East Pakistan and further immigration due to CAA will endanger the threatened indigenous residents of Tripura as the. The Act also ignited old conflicts between the Bengalis and the Reang refugees. Fresh clashes has been reported in the northern district of Kanchanpur between the two communities. The Reang refugees were protesting against the CAA while the Hindu Bengalis were supporting it. Protesters reportedly threw stones and vandalised shops and marketplace.
Crackdown on Universities
Jamia Millia Islamia
On 13 December 2019, the students of Jamia Millia Islamia University undertook a march to the Parliament protesting against the CAA. They were prevented from going ahead by the police who used batons and tear gas to disperse the protesters leading to clashes with them.
Fifty students were detained by the police after the clash. According to the students, police attacked the peaceful protestors with stones and sticks, in which several students were injured. The students then retaliated with the stones and clash ensued. Police denied the allegations claiming that after the protestors were prevented from taking their march onwards they attacked the policemen with stones first. Police then used tear gas to disperse them. On the morning of 15 December 2019, more than two thousand students of Jamia joined the protests against CAA in Delhi. Jamia Millia Student Body and Jamia Millia Islamia Teacher's Association (JTA) condemned the violence that happened on the same day in Delhi and stated that no student or teacher was involved in the violence.
At 6:46 pm on 15 December 2019, hundreds of police officers forcefully entered the campus of Jamia, without the permission of college authority. The police used batons and tear gas on the protesting students. Nearly a hundred students were detained by the Delhi police and released at 3:30 am next morning. The visuals of students being dragged and assaulted by the police was telecast by news channels. Students from all across Delhi joined the agitation. About two hundred people were injured and were admitted to AIIMS and the Holy Family Hospital.
Anti-CAA Banner demonstrated at Cultural Protest organised by Artistes of Assam at AEI ground, Chandmari, Guwahati.
On 16 December 2019, two students of Jamia were admitted to the Safdarjung Hospital with bullet injuries received during the protests on 15 December. One of the victims, M. Tamin stated that he was not participating in the protest and was passing through the area on a motorcycle, when police suddenly started caning the protesters and he was shot in the leg by police from point blank range. The doctors treating him stated that the wounds were gunshot wounds. The police stated that they were investigating the allegations of gunshot. The vice chancellor stated that they will file a court case against the police, demanding an investigation on how police entered the university premises and assaulted the students.
The university has been shut until 5 January 2020 and the residents were asked to leave the campus.
The police violence was heavily criticized by filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, actor John Cusack and Rajkummar Rao condemned the police violence, with Cusack referring it to fascism and Kashyap calling the government to be "clearly fascist". Actor Swara Bhaskar, praised the students protests for raising their voice against communalism and called the police action as dictatorial, brutal, shocking and shameful. She also questioned if it was the police and not the protesters who vandalized the property in Delhi and Aligarh.
Amnesty International India criticized the police for the violence against the students of Jamia and Aligarh University and stated that the allegations of police brutality and sexual harassment against the students should be investigated and culprits be punished. Defending the right of the students to protest, its director stated that the arrest of protesters violate India's obligations under the Article 19 and Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to respect and protect the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
No to police brutality graffiti on a metro wall in New Delhi
On 17 December, police arrested ten people (some of them having criminal history) in the case of the violent clashes in Jamia. None of the arrested were students of Jamia.
On 13 January, several student groups protested outside the office of Vice-Chancellor asking to reschedule the exam dates, filing a case against Delhi Police and ensuring the safety of students. The VC announced in the afternoon, that a case will be filed against police on 14 January. On 15 January, the VC met Delhi police commissioner to discuss the violence and urged him to file an FIR.
Aligarh Muslim University
On 15 December, protests against CAA were held outside the campus of the Aligarh Muslim University. On the evening of 15 December, police officers forcefully entered the campus of the University and assaulted the students. At least 60 students were injured including the president of the students Union. The access to the internet was restricted in the area by the district administration. The university was closed from 15 December till 5 January 2020. A report by three activist-lawyers alleged that the police had resorted to “deceptive shelling”, firing explosives camouflaged as tear gas shells during the crackdown. On the evening of 17 December, police released 26 people (including 8 students) on personal bonds. They had been arrested on charges of violence.
On 19 December, People's Union for Democratic Rights' fact-finding team consisting of activists Yogendra Yadav, Harsh Mander and Kavita Krishnan released a report on police crackdown at the Aligarh Muslim University. The report alleged that the police had called the students as terrorists and had used religiously charged slogans such as "Jai Shri Ram". The report also accused the police of breaking the protocols of the campus. It added that no bullet injury was reported. The report was prepared after visiting the campus, based on the video and audio clips of the incident, statements of the injured students and witnesses.
After a lull of four days, on 20 December, AMU campus again witnessed protests on Saturday with hundreds of AMU non-teaching staff joining hands with AMU teachers' association, protesting against the CAA and "police atrocities" against the agitators in various parts of the state. On 24 December 1000 – 1200 protesters were booked after organising a candle march inside Aligarh Muslim University for violating section 144.
On 15 January, Aligarh Muslim University postponed all exams due to the ongoing CAA protests.
At 7 am on 16 January, Vice-Chancellor met the protesting students and expressed regret for calling police inside the AMU campus to handle the law and order situation inside campus. He defended his decision stating he had not thought that the police would enter the hostels. AMU had set up a fact-finding committee headed by Justice (retd.) V.K. Gupta for a detailed investigation of the events that occurred in the night of 15 December. The VC asked to students to cooperate with the fact-finding committee and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) team that was visiting the campus.
On 16 December, around 300 students of Nadwa University, in Lucknow had planned a peaceful protest march against CAA and in solidarity with the students of AMU. The police prevented students from holding the march and forced them to return into the campus premises. The police locked the gates of the campus from outside and guarded it with a heavy deployment of police to prevent the students from coming out of the campus and undertaking the planned march. A clash between the police and the students locked inside the campus ensued and involved stone pelting from both sides. The police officers were seen hitting the students with sticks as in the video footage of the incident telecast on news channels.
Around 15 to 20 students were injured. 30 students were charged by the police for attempt to murder, rioting etc. The police accused the students of blocking the road and engaging in violence by throwing stones. While the students claimed that the police had attacked the unarmed students who were holding a peaceful protest. The student stated that they were neither involved in any violence, nor did they block any roads and yet they were charged with batons. After the incident the college was shut down until 5 January, and the students were asked to leave the campus.
On 5 January, at 6:30pm, a masked mob consisting of more than 60-100 people armed with rods and sticks attacked the campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. The assault and vandalism lasted for 3 hours, where the mob chanted slogans exclaiming the victims to be "naxalites" and "anti-national". The mob assaulted journalists and social activist, Yogendra Yadav in the presence of media and police, who attempted to enter the campus on receiving news of the incident. The mob also punctured the tires of ambulances attending to the victims of the assault which had left more than 42 students and teachers as severely injured. Street lights were shut off by authorities during the incident. Students of the campus including the JNUSU president, Aishe Ghosh who was brutally attacked on head and was hospitalised, alleged the police of intentional inaction as police were informed before the assault about unknown groups entering in the campus. Around 30 students who were members of the left wing groups were injured along with 12 teachers. Visually impaired students were also not spared from assault. The students and left wing organisations accused the members of the BJP's student wing, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad of orchestrating the attacks, while ABVP accused the left wing organisations. Professors who tried to intervene and save the students were also attacked. The policemen inside the campus allegedly did nothing to stop the mob. The assault was orchestrated through a Whatsapp group called "Unity against Left" which were traced through messages from members of the ABVP in the group. Students in Mumbai, launched a protest called "Occupy Gateway" late at night to protest against the assault. As a reaction to the assault, protests occurred across the country and in several cities.
Locals in New Delhi protest against CAA
A major road in New Delhi has been blocked by anti CAA protests for over three weeks. Artwork and graffiti are visible everywhere (7 January 2020).
On 14 December 2019, thousands of agitators packed into Jantar Mantar Road, filling up a space estimated to be half the size of a football ground, as multiple demonstrations occurred against the CAA in Delhi. The next day in Delhi near New Friends Colony, three Delhi Transport Corporation buses were torched. On 16 December, Priyanka Gandhi led a silent protest at the India Gate along with about three hundred congress workers to show solidarity with the students of Jamia Millia Islamia. On 17 December 2019, Delhi's Seelampur area had stone-throwing crowds face off against the police. The police retaliated with tear gas and batons, in which, according to local reports, several protesters and officers were injured. There were also reports of a police station being set on fire. According to police, buses were vandalized in the area.
On 19 December 2019, the administrative authorities imposed a ban against public gatherings in parts of Delhi. 20 metro stations were closed to prevent the movement for protests. At least 700 flights were delayed and more than 20 cancelled due to traffic jams caused by police closing the roads to stifle protests. Protest meetings were held defying the ban in Red Fort and Mandi House. Access to mobile internet was restricted in certain places in Delhi. Digital rights activists, who accessed and studied the order suspending internet in several areas in Delhi on 19 December, stated that it was not issued from the "right channels" and, therefore, was "illegal". Politicians Yogendra Yadav, Sitaram Yechury, Nilotpal Basu, Brinda Karat, Ajay Maken, Brinda Karat, Prakash Karat, Sandeep Dikshit, Umar Khalid and D. Raja along with around 1,200 protesters were detained by the police.
On 20 December 2019, two Delhi Metro stations - Jamia Millia Islamia and Jasola Vihar Shaheen Bagh were closed. Amid nationwide crackdown because of CAA, Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad's permission for the march from Jama Masjid to Jantar Mantar had been denied by Delhi Police. In spite of the denial of permission and the imposition of Section 144, a protest march was held where Azad was able to escape after being detained by the police. The protests were peaceful throughout the day, but in the evening a car was torched in Daryaganj after which the police attacked the protesters with water cannons and lathi charge. On the aftermath, Chandrashekhar Azad accused the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh of being responsible for the violence and sought for the resignation of the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah. On 21 December, Chandrashekhar Azad was arrested along with 27 people and three FIRs were registered for the violent incidents on 20 December at Delhi Gate and Seemapuri. On 10 January 12 of those arrested were released on bail.
On 15 January, a Delhi court granted bail and released Chandrashekhar Azad aka "Raavan".
However, when presented in the Delhi Tis Hazari court on 14 January 2020, the court questioned the public prosecutor about what is wrong with protesting since many people who protested in past are sitting chairpersons in the present government.
Protests were conducted by the journalists against the police brutality on the journalists covering the Anti-CAA protests especially in the states of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. In the protests, Sitaram Yechury stated that only the states ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party were experiencing violence. He further added that the other states were peaceful and hinted that the differences between the situation in the states show the who were encouraging violence.
On 23 December 2019, protests were held at multiple locations. 93 other students protesting outside Assam Bhawan and demanding the release of RTI activist Akhil Gogoi were detained by the police. The students alleged that the police used violence on the protesters.
On 24 December 2019, Police imposed a ban on gatherings in central Delhi's Mandi House near the Lutyens' Zone to prevent the protest march of students from multiple universities. The anti CAA-NRC protest march was to start from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar.
On 27 December, the Delhi Police used Facial recognition software by recording a video of the protester and checking it with the database of criminals maintained by them.
On 14 January, Supreme Court lawyers conducted a protest march from the Supreme Court to Jantar Mantar to protest against the CAA, NRC and NRP.
Since 14 December, a continuous 24/7 sit in protest is being conducted. The protest began in the afternoon of 14 December with just 15 local women, and went on to gather thousands of protesters with crowds reaching as high as 100,000 on Sundays. On New Year's Eve, thousands of protesters camping at the site sung the Indian National Anthem. They were joined in by celebrities and activists on 31 December. The day also recorded the coldest day in Delhi in the last 100 years. On 10 January, the Delhi High Court rejected a plea to shift the Shaheen Bagh protesters. The area has been covered with protest artwork.
On Saturday, 14 December 2019, violent protests occurred in West Bengal as the protesters attacked railway stations and public buses. Five trains were set on fire by the protesters in Lalgola and Krishnapur railway stations in Murshidabad district; railway tracks were also damaged in Suti.
On Monday, 16 December 2019, tens of thousands of people joined a protest march led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her ruling Trinamool Congress party. Mamata Banerjee stated that the NRC and CAA would not be implemented in West Bengal state as long as she was alive. She appealed people not to resort to violence, while accusing people from outside the state and members of the BJP of engaging in arson.
On 19 December 2019, a crowd with thousands of protesters gathered at Moulali in central Kolkata to peacefully object CAA and NRC. Mamata Banerjee held a second rally in Kolkata and stated that the Central Government was trying to project the CAA Protests as though it was a Hindu vs Muslim fight. She also stated that "BJP is buying skull caps for its cadres who are wearing them while vandalising properties to malign a particular community,". Earlier, on 18 December, a young BJP workers along with five associates, wearing lungi and skullcap were seen by the local residents throwing stones on a train engine. The arsonists were caught by the locals who handed them to the Murshidabad police.
Between 13 and 17 December 2019, multiple incidents of violence were reported during the protests. According to the police, as of 21 December, more than 600 people had been arrested for allegedly being involved in the violence.
On 23 December 2019, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar was stopped by the students at Jadavpur University, from attending the university convocation ceremony. The vice president of the BJP West Bengal unit raised questions that why the Muslims were excluded from the amendment if it was not about religion.
On 24 December 2019, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee lead a protest march in Kolkata from Swami Vivekananda statue at Bidhan Sarani. She accused PM Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah of making contradictory statements. She stated "The prime minister is saying there has been no discussion or proposal on NRC. But a few days ago, BJP president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said NRC exercise would be carried out across the country. Both the statements are contradictory. We wonder who is speaking the truth. They are trying to create confusion,".
On 3 January, the radical Islamic organisation Popular Front of India (PFI) had planned an anti CAA protest for 5 January, but the West Bengal police denied permission for it. Since 7 January, women had been conducting a sit in protest at the grounds of Park Circus in Kolkata.
On 11 January, PM Modi visited Kolkata on a two-day official visit. Hundreds of people protested against CAA at the Kolkata airport. Several parties and student unions launched a protest at the Dorina Crossing at Esplanade in Kolkata. SFI leader stated that the protests would continue till Sunday, until PM Modi (who had been visiting the city) was in Kolkata.
A cabinet meeting in Punjab decided to proceed as per the decision of the state assembly. A statement was released stating, "The ministers also expressed concern over the implications of the blatantly unconstitutional and divisive CAA, NRC and NPR," They also expressed concern on the violence over CAA stating, the issue "threatened to rip apart the secular fabric of the nation".
On 20 December 2019, six protesters are killed in police firing in UP. Arif (25), Zaheer (40), and Moshin (25) from Meerut, while Anas (22) and Sulaiman (26) from Nehtaur area, Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh.Rights activists in Uttar Pradesh, said local policemen were conducting raids on their houses and offices to prevent them from planning fresh demonstrations. According to the Press Trust of India, the death toll from Friday's protests in Uttar Pradesh's 13 districts has risen to 11. Amid police crackdown across Uttar Pradesh over the protests, families in Bijnor's Nehtaur alleged that vandalism by the state police has forced them to flee their homes.
On 21 December 2019, violent protests along with alleged police brutality were reported from several districts across the state. Access to the internet was restricted. The number of fatalities in the state increased to 16. In Rampur, the protesters held a general strike (bandh) while a ban on public assembly was in force in the state. Multiple clashes causing injuries to several people were reported. According to the Police, 263 policemen were injured, of which 57 were firearm injuries. NDTV later reported that they could only find one policeman with bullet wound and the Police did not share the list of 57 policemen with bullet injuries. Private property such as two-wheelers and a car were set ablaze. In Kanpur, a police post was burned during the clashes. Police arrested 705 people in the state, with 102 arrested for making allegedly objectionable remarks or social media posts. According to the UP Police, as of 21 December a total of 218 people have been arrested in the city of Lucknow.
On 22 December 2019, large number of police personnel were deployed in several districts in Uttar Pradesh, including Lucknow, Meerut, Aligarh, Saharanpur and Muzaffarnagar. Police cases were registered against 31 leaders of the Samajwadi Party and 150 party workers in Banda, Uttar Pradesh for violating the ban on public assembly. The United States warned its citizens to be cautious if they were travelling in the state. Disciplinary actions were reported from educational institutions, the actions included suspension and expulsion of teachers and students participating in protests.
On 24 December, Uttar Pradesh Police stated that 21,500 people were charged in 15 FIRs for violent incidents in Kanpur. In Muzaffarnagar the government, sealed 67 shops. Chief Minister, Adityanath had threatened the protesters that his government would auction the properties of the rioters to recover the losses due to the damage made to the property. Several CCTV videos were released from the public in Muzaffarnagar that showed Police personnel vandalizing property, damaging cars and shops, even though the government blamed the protesters for the damage.
On 26 December, In Sambhal, UP, the government sent notices to 26 people for their alleged involvement in damaging properties during protests and asked them to explain their position or pay for the loss due to damage of property. The losses to the property were assessed to be ₹11.66 lakh (US$16,000). Earlier, on 22 December, the UP government had created a panel to assess the damage to the property and to recover the losses by seizing the property of the alleged protesters. The social activists accused the government of intimidating the protesters.
On 28 December, Indian Express reported that with 19 killed and 1,246 people arrested based on 372 FIRs lodged in the state, UP was the worst affected state with the biggest police crackdown in India. UP Police and paramilitary forces also used security drones to monitor people and to prevent people from gathering to protest. In Meerut, a police officer was seen on video telling Muslim protesters to "Go to Pakistan". Even though the official figure of number of deaths so far in UP was 19, opposition parties claimed that the actual figure was higher. The UP police had maintained that the deaths of protesters were not the result of police firing, but later on they admitted that some deaths were indeed caused by the police but attributed those incidents to shots fired in self defence.
The UP government asked the Union Home Minister, to ban the radical Islamic organisation Popular Front of India (PFI) alleging that it was involved in violence during the protests in the state.
On 16 December, in response to the police crackdown at Jamia Millia University in Delhi and Aligarh Muslim University over the Citizenship Amendment Act, clashes between the police and protesters occurred in Dakshintola area of Mau, Uttar Pradesh in which stone pelting happened and at least fifteen vehicles (including police vehicles) were torched. Police resorted to firing in the air and using tear gas to disperse the protesters. A portion of the police station at Mirza Hadipura area of Mau district was set on fire. According to the District magistrate, the protesters were upset with the police action in Jamia University.
On 17 December, students of IIT Kanpur assembled in a peaceful protest against the CAA and to express solidarity with the students of Jamia Millia Islamia. During the protest, the students sung a popular Urdu nazm by revolutionary poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Hum Dekhenge, a song of resistance and defiance and against state oppression. A temporary faculty made a complaint to the Deputy Director of IIT Kanpur against the song alleged the poem provokes anti-Hindu sentiments whereas Faiz himself was an atheist and the poem was wriiten as metaphors of traditional Islamic imagery to subvert and challenge oppressive regime. A commission was subsequently set up; however, the student media body rejected the charges as misinformed and communal, which divorced the poem out of its societal context. Later the administration clarified that it was not going to probe whether the recital of Hum Dekhenge is anti-Hindu or not.
On 16 December, protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) were held in various parts of Karnataka. In Mysore, hundreds of protestors marched on the street, raising slogans and took out bike rallies. The police imposed a ban on public assembly in Mysore.
In Bangalore, the IISc students organised silent protest in the campus in solidarity with the students of Delhi and other parts of India.
On 19 December, hundreds of protesters including historian Ramachandra Guha were detained by the Bangalore Police from Town Hall. On 20 December, Karnataka High Court asked the state government to explain the prohibitions on the assembly in the sate. On 23 December, over 100,000 protesters gathered around the town hall in Bangalore. On 4 January in Bangalore hundreds of protesters participated in a rally and accused Modi government of attempts to divide India on the basis of religion, and distracting people from the issues of economic slowdown and job losses in the country.
As of 14 January, 82 separate protest occasions had taken place in the city. The number was observed to be the highest number of protests in a month in the city's history. The protests were primarily held in Town Hall and Freedom Park.
According to India Today, on 19 December seven CCTV recorded the arrival of a mob near a Mangalore police station along with a tempo carrying gunny bags full of stones. They then made an organized attempt to attack a police station, block all roads to the station, stone the police personnel and steal firearms. This was followed by the police firing on the mob, killing two people. The family of the deceased stated that the police used excessive force and should have tried to disperse the crowd instead.
In Mangalore 38 protesters from Campus Front of India who were marching towards the Deputy Commissioner residence were arrested by the police arrested on charges of blocking traffic on Balmatta Road. On 19 December, a curfew was imposed in Mangalore until 20 December, while protesters marched on the streets defying prohibitory orders. Two people died with gunshot wounds after police fired on the crowd. The police in riot gear then entered the Highland Hospital where the two people with gunshot wounds were brought. The police were accused of beating up patients and their relatives. The incident was caught on CCTV Cameras, in which the policemen were seen banging on the Hospital's ICU doors.
Home Minister of Karnataka Basavaraj Bommai accused the people from Kerala for the violence in Mangalore. Karnataka Police restricted the entry of people from Kerala to Mangalore at the Thalappady state border and detained more than 50 people without identity cards. On 20 December, the mobile phones of several journalists in Mangalore (many from Kerala) were confiscated and the journalists were detained. The Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan who condemned the action as an attack on media freedom and intervened after which the journalists were released.
On 22 December, the Karnataka government announced a compensation of ₹10 lakh (US$14,000) each to the families of the two men killed in violent protests in Mangalore on 19 December. The compensation was later withheld and an enquiry was initiated on the killed men.
On 15 January, more than 200,000 people joined the Anti-CAA protests in Mangalore, hundreds of people came to the venue in boats carrying Indian flags. Activists Harsh Mander and Kannan Gopinathan gave speeches during the protests. An organizer said that they considered the CAA, an anti-constitutional law that will be affecting not just Muslims but all religions. The event ended peacefully with the singing of National anthem.
On 16 December, protests against CAA were organised by Muslim organisations and political parties in Tirupathur district of Tamil Nadu. Effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah were burnt, after which more than a hundred people were detained by the police. Demonstrations protesting against the CAA and the attack on students in Delhi were also held by the students of Government Law College at Katpadi and Government Arts College in Tiruvannamalai.
On 20 December, Kollywood actors Siddharth, Singer TM Krishna and 600 others were detained for anti-CAA protests in Valluvar Kottam In Chennai. On 23 December Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam along with allied parties held a "mega rally" as an anti-CAA protest in Chennai. Protests were also continued to be held in various parts of Tamil Nadu including Salem and Krishnagiri.
In Chennai, eight anti-CAA activists, including five women, were arrested for drawing kolams criticising the CAA and NRC. Following their arrest by the Chennai police, the opposition DMK officially supported the kolam protest, and anti-CAA and anti-NRC kolams were drawn outside the houses of its leaders and members.
On 16 January, police in Chennai banned all protests in the city for a period of 15 days. 5 women and 1 man (including a physically disabled person) were detained by the police for protesting against CAA.
On 17 December, five students were arrested by the Gujarat police for allegedly creating a graffiti against Citizenship Act. According to the police, the students (all in their early twenties) of the Maharaja Sayajirao University's Fine Arts department had made a graffiti that said "no CAB Modi", but instead of the letter 'o' in the phrase the students made a 'swastika' sign. The graffiti was made at locations that included police headquarters, Kala Ghoda Circle, the Fatehgunj pavilion wall and the wall of a hostel near Rosary School. A police complaint was registered on 16 December for "using provocative and humiliating words to hurt sentiments of the people from one community and cause violence, and also damaging public property". The Police alleged that "They used slogans with certain symbols in their graffiti to intentionally hurt religious sentiments of a particular community and affect public peace and cause riots against members of a community. They also damaged public property." The police has already arrested five and two students who were absconding were being searched.
On 19 December 2019, peaceful protest march were carried out in several parts of Ahmedabad. The peaceful protest march in Shah-e-Alam's Roza area turned violent after police intervened to disperse the crowd. Police used tear gas to counter stone pelting while trying to disperse a crowd of 2000 protesters. Protest rallies and strikes were also organised in several cities of Gujarat.
On 19 December 2019, videos surfaced allegedly showing protestors attacking policemen in Ahmedabad and Banaskantha.
On 15 January, a petition was filed in Gujarat high court asking for the court's intervention to allow the petitioners to hold Anti-CAA protests in Ahmedabad. The petitioners stated that Police did not grant them permission for peaceful anti-CAA protests but granted permission to 62 programmes held by the BJP to support the CAA. The petitioners said that the administration keeps denying the permission to Anti-CAA protesters and called it a violation of fundamental rights of the citizens. The Court asked the Police to decide timely on the protests application.
On December 17, A dawn-to-dusk hartal (shutdown) is being observed in Kerala by Welfare Party of India, Bahujan Samaj Party,Social Democratic Party of India and other 30 organisation against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the police violence against students at various universities across the country, in relation to anti-CAA protests. The Kerala police detained 233 people in connection with the hartal, including 55 people in Ernakulam, 51 in Thrissur and 35 in Idukki. In Palakkad 21 people have been detained, while 13 were detained in Kannur, 12 in Kottayam and 8 in Wayanad.
On 14 January, the Kerala government approached Supreme court to challenge the CAA under section 131 of the constitution and becomes the first state to do so. The article 131 of the Indian constitution provides Supreme court the power to decide the disputes between the states and the Government of India. The Kerala government in its petition called the act "a violation of India's secular constitution" and accused the Indian government of dividing the country among religious lines. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, "Kerala will always remain in the forefront of this fight to protect the Indian constitution and the fundamental rights of its citizens,". Vijayan added that Kerala will save the rights of the citizens from the unconstitutional CAA by fighting against it using constitutional methods.
Millineum March, Hyderabad
On 16 December, protests consisting of thousands of students from major institutes such as University of Hyderabad, Osmania University and MANU University demanding a rollback of the CAA occurred in Hyderabad. On 21 December, numerous protests occurred across the Hyderabad organised by students, NGOs and various political parties. The Hyderabad Police stated that the protests remained peaceful. Demands calling for the end of the silence of the Chief Minister, K. Chandrashekar Rao were also raised, whose party, Telangana Rashtra Samithi had voted against the bill in parliament. By 23 December, it was reported that protests had spread to smaller towns as well including the town of Nizamabad.
On 4 January more than 100,000 protesters attend the protest march named "Million March" against the Citizenship Amendment Bill held in Hyderabad. The protesters displayed placards with slogans saying "Withdraw CAA immediately," and "India’s only religion in Secularism".
On 19 December, a bandh was called by communist parties in Bihar, supported by a number of small parties, where protesters blocked rail and road traffic in protest against CAA and the proposed countrywide implementation of NRC.
On Saturday, 21 December, a "Bihar bandh" was called by the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), where bandh supporters reportedly blocked railway tracks in Araria and East Champaran districts. In Nawada, bandh supporters demonstrated on National Highway 31 where wheels were burned on the road and the movement of vehicles was disrupted, while in Vaishali, the highway was blocked with the help of buffaloes. In Patna, hundreds of party supporters with lathis entered the railway stations and bus stations with party flags, but were repulsed by policemen. At Darbhanga, RJD workers and supporters protested bare chest, sloganeering against Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and central government.
On 28 December, the foundation day of the party, the state unit of the Congress party in Mumbai undertook a flag march and used the slogan "Save Bharat-Save Constitution". The march started from the August Kranti Maidan and ended at the statue of Lokmanya Tilak near Girgaum Chowpatty. It was attended by office bearers and workers of the party. Similar marches were held in many parts of the country.
On 12 January, thousands of people join the anti CAA protests at Jogeshwari in Mumbai. Slogans such as "I Am From Gujarat, My Documents Burned in 2002", "No CAA, Boycott NRC, Stop Dividing India, Don't Divide us", "Save Constitution", were displayed on the banners. Large number of policemen were also deputed for security.
Chhattisgarh: On 15 December, a protest march was held under the banner of the "Anti-CAB Agitation Forum" from Marine Drive area to Ambedkar Chowk in Raipur in the evening.
Odisha: On 16 December, thousands of protesters including farmer leaders, student activists, Dalit leaders and people with disability hit the road in Odisha against the CAA, NRC and the attack on Jamia students. They marched from Satyanagar Mosquee towards the residence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in Bhubaneswar. They also submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister and Governor Ganeshi Lal.
Chandigarh: On 19 December, over 700 students from Punjab University accompanied by students, activists and residents of surrounding districts like Ambala and Patiala conducted a protest march in city.
Madhya Pradesh: On 20 December, protests reportedly turned violent in Jabalpur, leading to a curfew being imposed in four police station limits.
Rajasthan: On 22 December, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot led a protest march of nearly 300,000 people christened "Samvidhan Bachao rally" against CAA. The protestors stated that CAA was against the constitution and is an attempt to divide the people based on their religion. They demanded that the new law be repealed. The protest march was supported by several political parties including Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, Rashtriya Lok Dal and Janata Dal (Secular). On 24 December, a protest attended by 200,000 people was held in Kota.
Foreign Nationals in India
On 23 December, Jakob Lindenthal, a student of Technical University of Dresden from Germany, as part of an exchange programme at IIT-Madras, was asked by the Immigration Office in Chennai to leave the country due to a violation of visa regulations.
Tourist Janne-Mette Johansson from Norway was asked to leave India by the Foreigners' Regional Registration Officer (FRRC) at Kochi International Airport because of visa violations after participating in an anti-CAA protest.
The first anti-CAA protests in Europe were held outside the High Commission of India in London, on 14 December 2019. On 16 December, students at University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom demonstrated their protest against the Act. The University and College Union, Edinburgh had released a statement in solidarity condemning the brutal inflictions exercised by state police on the students of various universities in the country who were protesting against the Act.
Diverse voices from France too, joined in for anti-CAA, anti-NRC protests. A letter of solidarity with protests in India and condemning the citizenship legislation, signed by hundreds of students and other professionals including eminent writers like Shumona Sinha, Amit Chaudhuri, musicians- Jean-Philippe Rykiel, Prabhu Edouard et al. preceded a planned mass protest gathering. On 4 January 2020, peaceful and song-filled protests by students, educationists and others from the Indian and foreign diaspora were held at Parvis du Trocadéro in Paris and also in front of the Indian Embassy, Paris despite facing the irk of some local BJP supporters.
On 14 January, more than 500 people gathered outside the Indian embassy in London to protest against the CAA.
Asia and Oceania
Several silent protests were made in December by students in Israel. On the same day, students of University of Dhaka assembled in solidarity for the student protesters who were beaten by police and also condemned the CAA.
Singapore police on 24 December investigated a 32-year-old Indian national for participating in the anti-CAA protest, which authorities termed an unauthorised protest over foreign politics in the seaside financial and tourist district of Marina Bay.
"Tanashah aakar jayenge, hum kagaz nahi dikhayenge; Tum aansu gas ucchaaloge, tum zeher ke chai ubaaloge; Hum pyaar ki shakkar gholke usko, gat gat gat peejaayenge; Hum kagaz nahi dikhaayenge" (first stanza) (Dictators will come and go but we'll not show our documents for NRC; You'll blind us with tear gas, you'll poison our waters; But our love will sweeten it and we'll drink it all in a go; We'll not show our documents (for NRC))
— Poem penned by lyricist and writer Varun Grover, in the context of the protest used during the demonstrations.
Protesters used several slogans and poems during the protests. Lyricist and Urdu poet Rahat Indori's famous ghazal"Sabhi ka khoon hai shaamil yahan ki mitti mein; kisi ke baap ka Hindustan thodi hai" (This land has seen sacrifices from everyone; Hindustan is not anyone's property) resonates throughout the protest. Revolutionary poems by Pash like "Main Ghas Hoon; Main aapke Kiye Dhare Par Ugh Ayunga" (I am grass, I will rise everywhere), lyricist and writer Varun Grover's poem like "Tanashah aakar jayenge, hum kagaz nahi dikhayenge" (Dictators will come and go but we will not show our documents),"Main Inkaar Karta Hoon" (I refuse) penned by singer Aamir Aziz and the popular poem "Main Hindustani Musalmaan Hoon" (I am an Indian Muslim) by Indian spoken word poet Hussain Haidry has been used during the protests. Along with poems, the famous revolutionary "Aazadi!" slogan by JNU students has been used extensively throughout the protest in all over the country and abroad.
Slogans, poems and songs used during Indian independence movement like "Inquilab Zindabad" (Long live the revolution) coined by Indian freedom fighter Hasrat Mohani, "Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna aab haamare dill mein hai; Dekhna hai zor kitna baazu-e-qatil mein hai" (The desire for revolution is in our hearts; Let's see how much strength the enemy has) written by Bismil Azimabadi which were later popularised by martyr Bhagat Singh, Ashfaqullah Khan, Chandrashekhar Azad and Ram Prasad Bismil were used as main vocal resistance during the protest. Protesters used the poetry written by revolutionary poets such as Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Habib Jalib, both considered symbols of resistance against military dictatorships and state oppression in Pakistan. Poems such as "Hum Dekhenge" (We will witness) penned by Faiz and "Main nahin janta, main nahin manta" (I refuse to acknowledge, I refuse to accept) penned by Jalib inspired large scale protests in form of banners and recitations. "Saare Jahan Se Achcha Hindustan Haamara" (Better than the entire world, is our Hindustan) by Urdu poet Muhammad Iqbal was recited in the protests. Singer and lyricist Aamir Aziz wrote Main Inkaar Karta Hoon as a Hindustani protest poem. Aziz's work was political poetry which was used during the protests and also to protest against the police brutality on the student protesters who were demonstrating against the Act.
Art work created by various artists as a demonstration against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 at AEI ground, Chandmari, Guwahati, Assam.
Along with Hindi and Urdu literature, English poems and slogans were also used for the protests. Among those one such dramatic monologue by a teacher named Ajmal Khan, "Write me down!, I am an Indian; This is my land, If I have born here, I will die here; There for, Write it down! Clearly In bold and capital letters, On the top of your NRC, that I am an Indian!", improvised from Mahmoud Darwish's song Write Down!, questions the Act's secularism and the Government. The poem strongly urged not to question the identity and patroitism of the Indian Muslims, the tribals, the poor, the landless, the Dalits and questioned the various actions of right wing organisations in the country. English placards like "Modi-Shah, You Gave Me Depression", "Rise Against Fascism", "Don’t Be Dead Inside For Democracy", "Fascism, Down Down", "I'll show you my documents, if you show your degree!" were used against the CAA-NRC and the Government, and placards like "Delhi Police: Shanti (Peace), Sewa (Service), Nyaya (Justice)?" and "Make Tea Not War" questions the Delhi Police's brutal actions against student protesters.
No NPR CAA NRC graffiti on a public toilet at Shaheen Bagh protests, New Delhi, 8 January 2020
A group of activists in Chennai drew kolams (geometrical patterns drawn on the ground with rice flour or chalk) criticising the CAA and NRC.This novel protest was then officially supported by the opposition DMK party. Following the kolam protests in Tamil Nadu, anti-CAA protestors in West Bengal also started drawing kolams, known as alpana or rangoli in Bengal.
In New Delhi, artists from the Progressive Artists' League drew murals on roads criticising the CAA, NRC and overall fascist nature of BJP Government.[better source needed]
The law was considered controversial since the time when it was proposed. It led to protests from students, political organizations and citizen groups. On 4 December, the draft legislation was shared and the students organisation, All Assam Students' Union (AASU) objected to the proposal. AASU had participated in the Assam Movement in the 1970s and 1980s against the illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.
The protests started in Assam in early December. By 12 December, students in at least 50 colleges and universities nationwide had joined the protests. The student protests subsequently grew and spread all over the country and several political and citizen groups joined it.
As of 4 January 21 people were killed by Police firing guns during the CAA protests in Uttar Pradesh, 3 killed in Karnataka and 5 in Assam. All the three states were ruled by BJP. Overall 27 people were killed by Police firing guns in the whole of India. With 19 killed and 1,246 people arrested based on 372 FIRs lodged in the state, UP was the worst affected state with the biggest police crackdown in India.
"Police have used excessive force only against demonstrators protesting the law, including many students. All the deaths have occurred in states governed by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)."
The Indian Express reported that during the second half of December there had been a decline in the sales of showrooms selling cars, watches, restaurants etc. due to the ongoing protests.
Several trains and at least 700 flights were delayed and more than 20 cancelled as a result of the protests. Train services were completely suspended in parts of Assam after two railway stations in the state were set on fire. It was reported that the Indian Railways suffered losses worth ₹90 crore (US$13 million) in property damage due to the protests, including losses worth over ₹72 crore (US$10 million) in West Bengal alone. On 20 December, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation suspended all bus services to Mangalore, while many Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation buses were blocked in Kerala.
Pakistan: Prime minister of Pakistan Imran Khan said "Modi government's policies can cause a big refugee crisis".
Malaysia: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said "Already people are dying because of this law, so why is there a necessity to do this thing?". In response, the Government of India summoned the Chargé d'Affaires of the Malaysian Embassy over the matter.
Kuwait: In a statement issued during National Assembly session in Kuwait group of lawmakers expressed their concern regarding "abusive legislative and repressive security measures" taken by the Government of India.
Rallies and demonstrations in support of Citizenship Amendment Bill were held in New Delhi, Mumbai, Nagpur, Bangalore, Dehradun and some other places. A rally in Kolkata was headed by Jagat Prakash Nadda, working national president of BJP, and was attended by Hindu refugees from Pakistan and Bangladesh. Protests against CAA were condemned in these rallies and hailed Narendra Modi for taking a decision on CAA. Nine Jain organisations came out in support of CAA on 20 December 2019 and thanked a BJP politician and BJP for the Amendment.
Over 1,000 academicians released statements in support of CAA. Signatories included Swapan Dasgupta, Shishir Bajoria, journalist Kanchan Gupta and JNU faculty and administration including professor Ainul Hasan, JNU dean of students Umesh Ashok Kadam and JNU registrar Pramod Kumar.
President of Delhi University Students' Union released a statement in support of the CAA which was condemned by other student unions of colleges under Delhi University and also a group of Delhi University students condemned by releasing another statement.
A pro-CAA rally named Jana Jagarana Rally, was organized at Tirupati and attended by BJP national vice-president and former Madhya Pradesh Chief MinisterShivraj Singh Chouhan and mostly BJP workers. The participants raised slogans in support of CAA and carried placards with slogans such as ‘We support CAA’, ‘India supports CAA’, ‘CAA a punishment to intruders and traitors’ and ‘CAA protects refugees’. The participants also carried a 500-metre-long Indian national flag.
Thousands of BJP workers took out a massive rally named Abhinandan Yatra or Thanks-giving rally in North Kolkata in support of CAA on 30 December. It was led by the party's Working President J P Nadda to thank Prime MinisterNarendra Modi for enacting the Citizenship Amendment Act. Road traffic in many parts of central and north Kolkata was paralysed in the afternoon. Numerous people who migrated to West Bengal from East Pakistan and later Bangladesh as refugees were present in the rally, besides Sikhs and Muslims.
On 24 December, a large gathering was organised at Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad.Vijay Rupani, Chief Minister of Gujarat was present at the event, said that Gujarat will definitely implement CAA. He also stated that "Muslims have 150 countries to go while Hindus have only one." BJP leaders and ministers took parts in the different rallies organised across all 33 districts of Gujarat.
Several BJP leaders including Home Minister Amit Shah had publicized a phone number, asking people to call the number as a way to express their support for the CAA. Many accounts on social media pretending to be of lonely and bored women, were seen sharing the same number and asking people to call, with an intention to inflate the number of supporters of CAA. The number was also shared offering six-month subscription to streaming site Netflix for free. Netflix called the offer as fake.
^ abcSerhan, Yasmeen (18 December 2019). "When Is a Protest Too Late?". The Atlantic. Retrieved 21 December 2019., Quote: "Though the protesters in India share a common opposition to the new citizenship law, their reasons for rejecting the legislation vary."
^ abcdSaha, Abhishek (20 January 2019). "Explained: Why Assam, Northeast are angry". The Indian Express. Protesters have expressed fears that the prospect of citizenship will encourage migration from Bangladesh. They have cited several grounds for opposing this. Demography: This will change across Northeastern states, protesters say, as has already been happening in Assam and Tripura over decades of migration (see graphs). "Assamese could become the second language. Then there is also the question of loss of political rights and culture of the indigenous people,” said former Chief Minister Prafulla Mahanta, who was the face of the Assam Movement (1979-85) against illegal immigration, and one of the signatories to the Assam Accord at the culmination of the movement. (...) Protesters say the Bill goes against the Assam Accord and negates the ongoing update of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
^ abcd"India's parliament passes citizenship law, protests flare". Reuters. 11 December 2019. Retrieved 17 January 2020. The bill will take away our rights, language and culture with millions of Bangladeshis getting citizenship (...) people in Assam and surrounding states fear that arriving settlers could increase competition for land and upset the region’s demographic balance
^Pokharel, Krishna (17 December 2019). "India Citizenship Protests Spread to Muslim Area of Capital". WSJ. Retrieved 17 January 2020. Protests against a new citizenship law favoring non-Muslim immigrants erupted in violence in a Muslim-dominated part of the Indian capital [...] "People are opposing this law because it discriminates against Muslims [...]
^Saha, Abhishek (20 January 2019). "Explained: Why Assam, Northeast are angry". The Indian Express. From its records, the IB gave a count of 31,313 (25,447 Hindus, 5,807 Sikhs, 55 Christians, 2 Buddhists and 2 Parsis) who have been given Long Term Visas on their claim of religious persecution in the three countries.