Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed deep distress over violent protests on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) and said it was most “unfortunate”.
Modi said that the law was passed with overwhelming support from a large number of political parties in parliament and people should respect it as it would not affect any citizens in the country.
“I want to unequivocally assure my fellow Indians that the CAA does not affect any citizen of India of any religion. No Indian has anything to worry regarding this Act. This Act is only for those who have faced years of persecution outside and have no other place to go except India,” Modi said in a series of tweets on Monday amid the violent protests.
This is the time to maintain peace, unity and brotherhood. It is my appeal to everyone to stay away from any sort of rumour mongering and falsehoods.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 16, 2019
Modi added that debate, discussion and dissent were essential parts of democracy but, “never has damage to public property and the disturbance of normal life been a part of our ethos”.
The prime minister emphasised that the law illustrates India’s centuries-old culture of acceptance, harmony, compassion and brotherhood.
Indian Prime Minister who is facing the wrath from the Muslim community for targeting them through the law said that “We cannot allow vested interest groups to divide us and create disturbances”.
Violent protests against the new citizenship law for last five days have taken the lives of six persons in the northeastern state of Assam, with scores injured in Delhi, Aligarh and Uttar Pradesh and damaged public property in several places including the national capital.
In Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia, police lobbed tear gas shells and allegedly dragged students out of campus. More than 100 activists and 35 policemen, including some senior officers were injured in the incident.
Protests have also spread to several universities across India. In eastern West Bengal and southern Kerala, the ruling parties have hit the streets to register their protest over the bill.
Three opposition-ruled states – Kerala, Punjab and West Bengal, have announced their decision not to implement the new law.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act enacted last week, grants citizenship to illegal immigrants from six religious minorities – Hindus, Parsis, Jains, Christians, Buddhists and Sikhs from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, if they arrived in India prior to 2015 but excludes these rights for Muslims.