At least 25 have died in demon­stra­tions and vi­o­lence af­ter govt passed the law crit­i­cised as anti-Mus­lim

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

New Delhi, In­dia - Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi sought on Sun­day to re­as­sure In­dia’s Mus­lims as a wave of deadly protests against a new cit­i­zen­ship law put his na­tion­al­ist gov­ern­ment un­der pres­sure like never be­fore.

At least 25 peo­ple have died in ten days of demon­stra­tions and vi­o­lence af­ter Modi’s gov­ern­ment passed the law crit­i­cised as anti-Mus­lim. More protests took place on Sun­day.

Ad­dress­ing party sup­port­ers in New Delhi - who cried ‘Modi! Modi!’ at the men­tion of the law - the 69 year old said Mus­lims ‘don’t need to worry at all’ - pro­vided they are gen­uine In­di­ans.

‘Mus­lims who are sons of the soil and whose an­ces­tors are the chil­dren of mother In­dia need not to worry’ about the law and his plans to carry out a na­tional reg­is­ter of cit­i­zens, Modi told the crowd of thou­sands.

Ac­cus­ing the main op­po­si­tion Congress party of con­don­ing the re­cent vi­o­lence by not con­demn­ing it, Modi said op­po­nents were ‘spread­ing ru­mours that all Mus­lims will be sent to de­ten­tion camps’. “There are no de­ten­tion cen­tres. All these sto­ries about de­ten­tion cen­tres are lies, lies and lies,” he said.

The pro­test­ers have hurled rocks and torched ve­hi­cles dur

ing demon­stra­tions, while po­lice ac­tions in­clud­ing the storm­ing of a Delhi univer­sity a week ago fu­elled anger. Tens of thou­sands of pro­test­ers gath­ered late on Satur­day in the south­ern city of Hy

de­r­abad, while other protests were held else­where.

The law gives reli­gious mi­nor­ity mem­bers - Hin­dus, Sikhs, Jains, Par­sis, Chris­tians and Bud­dhists - from three neigh­bour­ing

Is­lamic coun­tries an eas­ier path to cit­i­zen­ship, but not if they are Mus­lim.

Is­lamic groups, the op­po­si­tion and oth­ers fear this forms part of Modi’s aim to marginalis­e In­dia’s 200mn Mus­lims and re­mould the coun­try as a Hindu na­tion, some­thing he de­nies.

Au­thor­i­ties have im­posed emer­gency laws, blocked In­ter­net ac­cess - a com­mon tac­tic in

In­dia - and shut down shops in sen­si­tive ar­eas across the coun­try in an at­tempt to con­tain the un­rest.

More than 7,500 peo­ple have ei­ther been de­tained un­der emer­gency laws or ar­rested for ri­ot­ing, ac­cord­ing to state of­fi­cials, with 5,000 in Ut­tar Pradesh state alone where 17 peo­ple have been killed. Some 500 peo­ple have also been in­jured in Ut­tar Pradesh in­clud­ing 263 po­lice, while two peo­ple were shot dead in the south­ern state of Kar­nataka and six died in As­sam in the north­east last week.

In As­sam, op­po­nents of the leg­is­la­tion fear it will en­able large num­bers of Ben­gali-speak­ing im­mi­grants, many of whom are Hindu, to set­tle there. But else­where, op­po­nents say the law has made re­li­gion a test for cit­i­zen­ship ahead of a na­tion­wide reg­is­ter that Modi wants to carry out by 2024 to re­move all ‘in­fil­tra­tors’.

The US State De­part­ment this week urged New Delhi to ‘pro­tect the rights of its reli­gious mi­nori­ties in keep­ing with In­dia’s con­sti­tu­tion and demo­cratic val­ues'.


In­dia's Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi speaks dur­ing a rally in New Delhi on Sun­day


Peo­ple take part in a demon­stra­tion against new cit­i­zen­ship law in Chen­nai on Sun­day

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