A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused opposition political parties of fear-mongering and misleading the Muslim community over the amended Citizenship Law, his opponents have decided to take the fight to him by staging public protests in New Delhi and in the southern city of Chennai on Monday.
Interim President of the main opposition Indian National Congress, Sonia Gandhi, and her son Rahul Gandhi are expected to lead protests in New Delhi, while the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party in India’s Tamil Nadu state is holding a protest rally in Chennai.
India’s former Finance and Home Minister P. Chidambaram is also taking part in the protest in Chennai.
Tamil Nadu: DMK and its alliance parties hold a 'mega rally' against #CitizenshipAmendmentAct, in Chennai. Congress leader P Chidambaram and MDMK's Vaiko are also participating. pic.twitter.com/ve96fUQ7k7— ANI (@ANI) December 23, 2019
Taking to social media, Rahul Gandhi urged people from all walks of life to join him at the protest on Monday afternoon.
Dear Students & Youth of 🇮🇳,— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) December 23, 2019
It’s not good enough just to feel 🇮🇳. At times like these it’s critical to show that you’re 🇮🇳 & won’t allow 🇮🇳 to be destroyed by hatred.
Join me today at 3 PM at Raj Ghat, to protest against the hate & violence unleashed on India by Modi-Shah.
Dear Students of 🇮🇳,— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) December 22, 2019
No Indian student should allow Modi-Shah to divide 🇮🇳the way they are doing.
Students of 🇮🇳, you are the future of 🇮🇳 and 🇮🇳 is your future.
Let’s stand together and fight their hate.
The planned anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest in Chennai has led the Madras High Court to direct law enforcement authorities to video graph the event and use drones to attribute liability, if any, to politicians in the event of unlawful incidents.
Leader of the opposition Bahujan Samaj Party Mayawati on Monday urged Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath of northern Uttar Pradesh to carry out a “proper investigation in cases of protestors arrested” for objecting to the citizenship law.
Internet services have been suspended in 21 cities throughout Uttar Pradesh to prevent the fanning of negative sentiments related and incite protests against legislation.
On Sunday, addressing a rally in Delhi, Prime Minister Modi again reiterated that the citizenship law and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) have nothing to do with Indian Muslims.
“A lie is being spread that this government had brought the law to snatch people's rights,” Modi said while daring his political rivals to find anything discriminatory in his actions.
He asserted that the opposition is resorting to dividing the country by spreading rumours and sharing fake videos. He also emphatically denied the existence of detention centres as was being projected by the opposition.
The Congress retorted that a simple internet search was not enough to prove Modi’s claim as false.
So far, 23 people have lost their lives in anti-Citizenship Amendment Act-related protests over the past week, with 16 deaths taking place in Uttar Pradesh alone.
The new Citizenship Amendment Act grants citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who fled religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan and arrived before 31 December 2014. The legislation came under fire for what the protesters described as violation of the Indian constitution by mandating citizenship on the basis of religion, as it excludes Muslims.