“The police made all 15 of us kneel and started beating us. They used lots of abusive words. One of them removed my prescription glasses, threw (them) on the ground, broke them and told me to look down,” said Hanjala Mojibi, an English major at Jamia Millia Islamia University at a news conference, breaking down in tears.
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A march by students from New Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University descended into chaos Sunday when demonstrators set three buses on fire. Police responded with rubber bullets and tear gas. Videos showed officers running after unarmed protesters and beating them with wooden sticks.
Mojibi said that when he and others saw police enter the campus, they walked toward them with their hands up to indicate their protest was nonviolent.
Citizenship Amendment Act is a newly passed law that applies to Hindus, Christians and other religious minorities who are in India illegally from Muslim-majority Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. They can apply for citizenship under a religious persecution clause.
The law, however, doesn’t include Muslim refugees or migrants – in what critics are calling a clear indication of the changing politics in secular India. India has a Hindu population but is also home to 200 million Muslims and other minorities.
This amendment of the Citizenship Act, 1955 which requires the applicant (regardless of religion or country of origin) to have resided in India for 11 of the previous 14 years. The amendment passed this year relaxes this requirement from 11 years to six years, but for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians from the three nations.
Some of the protesters view the law as inherently discriminatory, while others – particularly in India’s northeast – fear it will accelerate demographic and linguistic change.
Protests in the capital took a violent turn on Sunday as public buses were burnt and civilians injured around the Jamia Millia Islamic campus. The protests by students of the university turned violent when police allegedly barged into the campus.
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