• Wednesday, Feb 26, 2020
  • Last Update : 03:07 pm

Section 144 imposed in Lucknow as anti-CAA protests continue across India

  • Published at 12:16 am January 20th, 2020
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Demonstrators display placards during a protest against a new citizenship law, in the old quarters of Delhi, India on Thursday, January 16 Reuters

The restriction of movement comes days after Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, became a battlefield following violent protests across the state over the controversial citizenship law

Section 144 was imposed in the capital of the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on Saturday ahead of its Republic Day in the wake of widespread protests against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The restriction of movement comes days after Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, became a battlefield following violent protests across the state over the controversial citizenship law.

The Lucknow Police have been accused of taking away blankets and food meant for protestors at the city’s iconic clock tower since Friday evening. About 50 women began their indefinite sit-in on Friday. By Saturday night, the crowd swelled as scores of women and children joined the demonstration.

The state police dismissed the accusations as “rumours” but added that “blankets were seized after due process,” reported NDTV. 

The police also allegedly switched off the street lights where women had gathered to protest against the CAA. 

Prohibitory orders were imposed in Lucknow on Saturday night. State Police Commissioner Sujeet Pandey said that it was done to maintain law and order in the coming weeks, reported IANS.

Protests against the CAA are continuing across the country, more than a month after it was passed in parliament. On Saturday, massive protests were held in places such as Pune, Lucknow, Delhi, Goa and Vijayawada.

The CAA, notified on January 10, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. At least 26 people died in protests against the legislation last month.

The Act has been widely criticized for excluding Muslims. In North-eastern states, demonstrators feel the Act will erode their ethnic identities by granting citizenship to foreigners on religious grounds. Over the last year, the government has repeatedly claimed that the new citizenship law would be the precursor to a countrywide National Register of Citizens, intended to identify so-called illegal immigrants and deport them. Taken together, it is feared, the law and the register will work towards excluding Indian Muslims from citizenship.

Ground zero

With Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh having become the ground zero of protests against the CAA in the Indian capital, several artworks and installations are beginning to appear on the site. From postcards and elaborate posters to a mock detention camp, and a mini replica of India Gate inscribed with the names of those who have died nationwide during the protests, dissent is seeing diverse expressions.

The videos and images above and below show a 40-foot-tall map of India that has been installed as of January 17, before and after its erection at the venue. The iron and mesh wire piece is inscribed with the words “We, the people of India, reject the CAA-NPR-NRC.”

172 Bangladeshis received Indian citizenship

As many as 172 Bangladeshis received Indian citizenship in six years, according to India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Sitharaman yesterday said that 2,838 people from Pakistan were given Indian citizenship in the same period, reports Times of India.

The finance minister gave the information while addressing “Program on Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019” event in Chennai.

India also awarded 914 refugees from Afghanistan its citizenship. From 1964 to 2008, more than 400,000 Tamils from Sri Lanka have been given Indian citizenship, Sitharaman said.

"Till 2014, over 566 Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan were given Indian citizenship. During 2016-18 under Modi government, around 1,595 Pakistani migrants and 391 Afghan Muslims were given Indian citizenship," she said.

Sitharaman added that people who came from East Pakistan have been settled at various camps in India.