Nationwide Outrage and Popular Discontent Against the CAB

Curfew, police firing, night vigils and massive demonstrations have marked the widespread public outrage against the CAB.

Nationwide protests have been reported against the CAB, with the North-Eastern part of India leading the struggle against the controversial Bill. Two people have even lost their lives in Guwahati during the protests when the police open fired on the protestors. Similar protests have been reported from all parts of the North-East. 

Train services to Assam and Tripura have also been brought to a standstill and many flights have been suspended due to the protests. Internet has been suspended for another 48 hours in Assam and Tripura where the protests have continued to get intensified in the last couple of days. On Thursday, protestors even went ahead and defied the imposition of a curfew and hit the streets, the police even open fired on the protestors, leading to the deaths of two young people and the injury of hundreds of others. 

The anti-CAB protests throughout the country has also led to the postponement of the India-Japan Summit which was supposed to be held in Guwahati owing to the vulnerable situation in Assam and rest of the North-East. Meanwhile, the United Nations too has said that it is analysing the consequences of the bill and keeping a close eye on India to ensure that it does not violate the recommendations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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Mahua Moitra | Image – Still from LSTV

In another latest development, Triamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra has moved the Supreme Court challenging the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and sought an urgent hearing in the matter. However she has been denied the appeal for an urgent hearing and has been asked to wait for an appropriate date.  With all these latest developments emerging, it becomes more than apparent that anti-CAB protests are raging in India and there is indeed widespread popular discontent about it. Here is a look at the contentious CAB with some details-

If there is something which is bringing India to the boil these days, it certainly has to be the controversial and contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill that was recently passed in both the Houses of the Parliament.

The CAB proposed to give Indian citizenship to illegal Hindu Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian migrants from the neighbouring countries if Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It then naturally indicates that any person belonging to a minority religion other than the ones mentioned above, shall not be granted Indian citizenship under the CAB. The bill also relaxes the provisions for “Citizenship by naturalisation”, as it reduces the duration of residency from the present time of 11 years to just five years for people belonging to the same religions and the three countries. Leading Opposition parties have called the Bill discriminatory and have said that it singles out the Muslims who constitute nearly 15% of the Indian population. The government has gone ahead and made it clear that the neighbouring countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are muslim majority countries and hence they cannot be treated as persecuted minorities in these countries under consideration of the CAB. It also assures the government will examine the applications from any other community on a case to case basis.

The Bill has triggered widespread nationwide protests especially in the North-Eastern states where many feel that the permanent settlement of illegal migrants will disturb the region’s demographic quotient and further burden resources and decrease employment opportunities for the indigenous population of the country. A large section of the population also feels that the provisions of the CAB will also nullify the Assam Accord of 1985, which fixed March 24,1971, as the cut-off date for deportation of all illegal immigrants irrespective of their religion.

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