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15 Dec 2019 | 11:57 AM UTC

India: At least six killed nationwide as of December 15 amid anti-CAB protests /update 8

At least six people have been killed nationwide as of December 15 due to violent anti-Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) protests; further protests, clashes to be expected over near term

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IND

Event

At least six people have been killed nationwide as of Sunday, December 15, amid violent protests between anti-Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) demonstrators and police. An estimated 4000 people rallied against the legislation in New Delhi on Sunday, where some protesters set fire to buses and cars. Police used tear gas and baton charges to disperse crowds; at least six officers were wounded in the clashes. Authorities ordered all schools in southeast Delhi to remain closed on Monday, December 16, in light of the unrest.

Meanwhile, protests against the CAB continued in the states of West Bengal and Asssam on Sunday. Some 5000 people took part in a fresh demonstration in Guwahati (Assam state), while protesters in West Bengal set fire to tires, staged sit-ins on highways and railway tracks, and torched trains and buses. Train services were halted and internet services suspended in several districts of the state.

Several political parties have called for anti-CAB protests in Kerala on Monday, December 16. Organizers did not immediately announce an exact meeting time or location as of Sunday, however, some local media outlets have reported that a protest will take place at the Martyrs Column

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.