Human Rights

India .. Death toll in citizenship law protests reaches 23

The death toll in protests in India against a contentious citizenship law seen as anti-Muslim has reached 23, as nine more people were killed on Saturday in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

Fifteen people have died in the state during the protests so far, police spokesman Praveen Kumar said, adding that a “majority of the dead are young people”.

“Some of them died of bullet injuries, but these injuries are not because of police fire. The police have used only tear gas to scare away the agitating mob,” Kumar said.

He said around a dozen vehicles were set on fire amid protests in the districts of Rampur, Sambhal, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor and Kanpur, where a police station was also torched.

Suspending Internet Services:

An anti-terror squad was deployed and internet services were suspended for another 48 hours in the state.

On Friday, six people, including an eight-year-old boy, were killed during the protests in the state with a large Muslim population.

Police said on Saturday that over 600 people were taken into custody. In addition, five people were arrested and 13 police cases filed for posting “objectionable” material on social media.

Police have imposed a British colonial-era law, called Section 144, which bans the assembly of more than four people statewide. The law was also imposed elsewhere in India to thwart an expanding protest movement demanding the revocation of the citizenship law.

India .. Death toll in citizenship law protests reaches 23

Citizenship Law:

Thousands of demonstrators, including students and a large number of women, have vowed to keep up their fight until the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), passed last week, is revoked.

CAA provides a fast-track route to citizenship to “persecuted” Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, Buddhists, Jains and Christians from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, but excludes Muslims.

Critics say the law is aimed at marginalising India‘s 200 million Muslims and is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist agenda, a claim the BJP denies.

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