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22 Jan 2020 | 10:13 AM UTC

India: Anti-CAA protesters organize demonstrations in several cities from January 22 /update 30

Anti-CAA protesters to demonstrate in major cities across India over the coming several days starting January 22; heightened security presence and traffic disruptions likely

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IND

Event

Anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protesters are organizing demonstrations in major cities across India, including Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad starting from Wednesday, January 22. Protests are expected daily from Wednesday onward in the following cities:

Protests are to be expected in the aforementioned cities and locations over the coming several days as government convenes for a four-week review period to respond to legal contestations. 

Additionally, protests are planned on specific dates in the following cities:

A heightened security presence and disruptions to transportation, business, and telecommunications are to be expected in the vicinity of all protests over the coming days. Clashes between protesters and police cannot be ruled out.

Context

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) seeks to provide citizenship to non-Muslim minorities fleeing religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. In conjunction with the National Register of Citizens (NRC), activists claim that it specifically seeks to target Indian Muslims. The NRC aims to identify illegal immigrants by requiring individuals to prove their citizenship based on specific documentation prior to a certain cut-off date. On November 20, Home Minister Amit Shah said that the NRC will be implemented nationwide. Opponents of the CAA argue that it isolates Muslim Indians by favoring all non-Muslim religious minorities who may fail to qualify for the NRC but will nonetheless be assured citizenship. The CAA has also received opposition - particularly in several northeastern states - due to fears that it will encourage an influx of immigrants that will affect the ethnic balance. India's Supreme Court refused petitions to halt the implementation of the CAA on December 18.

India's supreme court refused to strike down the law on January 22, prompting further protests. At least 30 people have been killed in clashes between police and protesters, and police officers have arrested several hundred demonstrators since December 11.

Advice

Individuals in India are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests and demonstrations as violence may flare up without warning, and prepare for widespread disruptions to transportation, business, and telecommunications in protest-affected areas. If a demonstration is organized without warning, individuals are advised to refrain from crossing roadblocks, take shelter in a safe place, and avoid taking pictures. Travelers should adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities (especially if curfews are enforced) and their home governments.