08:05 GMT29 March 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Agitation against the controversial citizenship law has been raging in India since the passage of the legislation in December 2019 with hundreds of people marking sit-in protest in Delhi’s Shaheenbagh area. Similar protests inspired by Shaheenbagh are continuing unabated in various parts of Delhi.

    While the anti-citizenship law protesters have refused to end their agitation, activists, who had long been supporting the demos, have now asked them to suspend them as the country seeks to ward off the coronavirus spread.

    Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has ordered all public places to close and prohibited the gathering of more than 50 people amid the outbreak in India where positive cases have increased to 126 with three reported deaths.

    Despite the warning, the protesters at Delhi's Shaheenbagh have refused to end their 91-day sit-in. 

    Netizens have slammed the protesters for taking the risk and defying government orders while calling them “suicide bombers”.

    Globally, the virus has infected more than 182,400 people and led to the deaths of over 7,000 worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation.

    The protesters hold the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 enacted by the federal government as discriminatory for excluding the Muslim community.

    The protesters hold the Citizenship Amendment Act seeks to grant citizenship rights to illegal immigrants from three neighbouring Islamic countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, for those belonging to the Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist, Jain, and Parsi communities. The legislation, which didn't extend the same rights to Muslim immigrants, has sparked widespread protests, with opponents of the law claiming it was discriminating against Muslims. The government has, however, strongly denied these allegations.


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    New Delhi, citizenship law, protesters, coronavirus, COVID-19, India
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