04:40 GMT17 April 2021
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Protests against a new citizenship law have been intensifying and spreading across India. Two people have already lost their lives in Assam.

    In West Bengal protesters torched buses, railway stations and destroyed several public properties in Howrah, Murshidabad, Malda on Saturday amid reports of intensified protests spreading over several parts of the country.

    National Highway 34, one of the arterial roads that connect north and south Bengal, was blocked in Murshidabad. Trains were also stopped on several routes due to attacks by protesters.

    Officials reported several incidents in West Bengal where protesters targeted ambulances, railway stations and government offices while sloganeering against the law. Protesters claimed that the citizenship law will exclude Muslims from the National Register of Citizenship (NRC).

    Muslims are concerned that in the absence of documents, the government will target them and make them stateless. India is home to 11 percent of the world's Muslims.

    Expressing anguish over the violent protests, the West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar said that the Chief Minister has to ‘bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India… and I as Governor will ‘to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the law’.

    Meanwhile, internet service has been suspended across Assam until 16 December. The government claims the ban is necessary to preserve peace and to maintain law and order.

    Amid intensifying protests in Assam Indian home minister Amit Shah assured that “culture, social identity, language and political rights of the northeastern people will be untouched and Modi government will protect them."

    The Indian government has enacted a citizenship law for non-Muslim migrants from Friday. The law provides opportunities to six religious minorities – Hindus, Parsis, Jains, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs – from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan to receive Indian citizenship if they arrived in India before 2015.


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