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17 Dec 2019 | 05:37 AM UTC

India: Police clash with anti-CAB protesters in Delhi December 17 /update 10

Clashes between anti-Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) protesters and police reported in Delhi amid nationwide protests December 17; further protests, clashes expected over the near term

legal
security
transportation
IND

Event

Clashes between police and anti-Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) protesters erupted in Delhi on Tuesday, December 17. Security forces reportedly fired tear gas and used baton charges to disperse the crowd as protesters pelted stones at police and damaged buses at around 15:00 (local time) in the Seelampur area, prompting Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to close the Johri Enclave, Shiv Vihar, Seelampur, Gokulpuri, Jaffrabad, and Maujpur-Babarpur metro stations. As of 16:30 (local time), service resumed at the Seelampur station. Residual transportation disruptions are expected in the area over the coming hours.

A hartal (general strike) has been called by the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and allied organizations in Kerala, where business disruptions and minor clashes have been reported across the state. Further protests, mostly peaceful, have been reported nationwide.

Authorities have relaxed curfews in Shillong (Meghalaya) between 06:00 and 19:00. However, the suspension of internet services will remain in effect until further notice.

In Assam, 11 train lines operated by the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), including intercity routes, resumed services.

A heightened security presence and localized telecommunication, transportation and business disruptions are to be expected nationwide over the coming hours and days. Clashes between protesters and police cannot be ruled out.

Context

The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), which seeks to provide citizenship to non-Muslim minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, was originally introduced in 2016. It was tabled, however, due to widespread protests denouncing the legislation. Opponents claim the legislation is in violation of the constitution, which prohibits religious discrimination against citizens.

The Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament) passed the CAB legislation on December 9, while the Rajya Sabha (upper house of parliament) passed the bill on December 11.

Advice

Individuals in India are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests and demonstrations, prepare for transportation, business, and communications disruptions, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.