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16 Dec 2019 | 07:04 AM UTC

India: Anti-CAB student protests continue nationwide December 16 /update 9

Ongoing nationwide anti-CAB protest reported December 16 ; further protests, clashes to be expected over near term

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Event

As of Monday, December 16, additional student protests denouncing the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) have been reported in campuses nationwide, including in Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pondicherry, Lucknow, and Delhi. Protests denouncing police violence have also been called in Mumbai and Delhi, where students reportedly blocked roads and staged a sit-in in front Delhi's police headquarters in the evening (local time) on Sunday, December 15.

Violent protests continue to be reported across West Bengal, where protesters reportedly set fire to tires, staged sit-ins on highways and railway tracks, and torched trains and buses, causing significant transportation disruptions through the state.

Additional peaceful protests have been reported in Assam, where an indefinite curfew has been relaxed, where individuals can travel freely from 08:00 to 18:00 on Monday after days of violence.

The suspension of internet services and telecommunications have been extended through at least Tuesday, December 17, in West Bengal, Assam, and Meghalaya.

In Kerala, a state-wide hartal (mass protest), declared as illegal by state police authorities, has been called on Tuesday, December 16.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal political party has also called for a nationwide general strike on Saturday, December 21.

A heightened security presence and localized telecommunications, transportation, and business disruptions are to be expected in all affected areas over the coming hours and days. Further protests are likely, including in other cities and states across India; 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.