Protests in Kolkata in opposition to a controversial Indian citizenship legislation have continued into their second day.
The brand new legislation entitles non-Muslim migrants from three Muslim-majority international locations to citizenship if they’re going through spiritual persecution.
On Saturday, protesters blocked motorways and attacked trains and stations in West Bengal’s capital.
A curfew was additionally imposed in Guwahati, within the north-eastern state Assam, after two individuals died in clashes this week.
The curfew was lifted from 09:00 native time (03:30 GMT) till 16:00 (10:30 GMT) on Saturday. Protest teams in Guwahati have stated they plan to defy the curfew on Saturday night.
The UK, US and Canada have issued journey warnings for individuals visiting India’s north-east, telling their residents to “train warning” if travelling to the area.
Smaller demonstrations have been breaking out throughout India. On Friday, a whole lot of mostly-student protesters clashed with riot police in New Delhi, whereas demonstrators in Bengal set hearth to buildings at a railway station.
Different, smaller rallies have been additionally held within the southern states of Kerala and Karnataka.
Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal’s chief minister, opposes the legislation and has stated she is not going to implement it. She has additionally referred to as for extra rallies to be held subsequent week.
The chief ministers of Punjab, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have additionally stated they won’t implement the legislation.
What’s the new legislation and why is it controversial?
The Citizenship Modification Invoice (CAB), which was permitted this week, applies to non-Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who’ve been persecuted for his or her religion.
In addition to Hindus, this contains Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains and Parsis.
If individuals from these teams enter India illegally and might show that they originate from one of many three eligible international locations, they’ll turn out to be Indian residents.
Muslim rights teams throughout the nation and an opposition political social gathering argue the invoice is a part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Hindutva”, or Hindu nationalism, and a part of an agenda to marginalise Muslims.
Mr Modi denies this, saying that Muslims should not coated by the brand new legislation as a result of they aren’t spiritual minorities, and subsequently don’t want India’s safety.
Critics argue that if the legislation have been genuinely aimed toward defending minorities, it could embody Muslim spiritual minorities who’ve confronted persecution in their very own international locations – Ahmadis in Pakistan, for instance.
In addition they say the invoice violates secular ideas enshrined within the structure, which prohibits spiritual discrimination in opposition to all residents.
There may be additionally an anti-migrant ingredient to a few of the protests.
The BBC’s India correspondent, Soutik Biswas, stated that the protests in Assam particularly have little to do with the legislation being seen as exclusionary or as a menace to secularism, and “extra to do with indigenous fears about being demographically and culturally swamped by ‘outsiders'”.
Prime Minister Modi has sought to reassure individuals in Assam, telling them they’d “nothing to fret” about.
“The central authorities and I are completely dedicated to constitutionally safeguard the political, linguistic, cultural and land rights of the Assamese individuals,” he tweeted on Thursday.
However it’s unlikely residents would have been capable of learn the message, as a result of web and cell companies within the space have been shut down.
Has the invoice been legally challenged?
The Indian Union Muslim League, a political social gathering, has petitioned the nation’s prime courtroom to declare the invoice unlawful.
Of their petition to the Supreme Court docket, the Indian Union Muslim League argued that the invoice violated articles of equality, basic rights and the precise to life.
Greater than 700 eminent Indian personalities, together with jurists, legal professionals, teachers and actors, have signed an announcement “categorically” condemning the invoice.
Investigative journalist Rana Ayyub advised the BBC that it was sending out the improper message.
“Clearly you might be catering to your Hindu base by telling them that this nation is just for Hindus,” she stated.
“The world’s largest democracy had an enormous coronary heart when it might accommodate individuals. Proper now we’re coming throughout to the world as petty vindictive civilisation. That is not what India stood for.”