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Manipal Protests against CAA

On 17th December, a large crowd gathered in front of the Manipal DC office to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act(CAA) and the implementation of National Register of Citizens(NRC).

The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 was passed by the Parliament of India on 11th December 2019. It provides a fastrack path to Indian citizenship to persecuted religious minorities from the neighbouring countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. The bill grants citizenship to immigrants belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community, who migrated due to religious persecution from the neighbouring countries before 31st December 2014. Whereas the NRC is a record of legal Indian citizens and it contains the demographic records of the same as per the Citizenship Act, 1955. Amit Shah, Union Home Minister, in a Parliament session in November had announced that the nationwide NRC would soon be implemented to weed out illegal immigrants from India. The exclusion of Muslim immigrants from the bill has enraged citizens everywhere. All around the country, people took to the streets to voice their dissent towards this ruling.

The students, women, and senior citizens gathered at the DC office expressed their concerns and voiced their opinions regarding both the bills using banners and posters. Multiple organisations such as the Student Islamic Organization (SIO), Udupi Jilla Muslim Okkutte, Campus Front, took part in the protest. Chants like “Bedave Beda, Bedave Beda, CAA Bedave Beda”(We do not need CAA at all), “Aazadi aazadi, NRC se aazadi”(Freedom, Freedom, Freedom from NRC) echoed throughout the place as the crowd proceeded to calmly protest in an urge to revoke the bills passed by the government. The Police officers deployed at the protest ensured that everything took place in an orderly fashion and no incidents of misdemeanour from the citizens was recorded. The protest was conducted in a disciplined manner and the organisers provided water bottles to keep the protestors hydrated along with chairs for the senior citizens.

Unlike the protests in Manipal, the one in Mangaluru took a disturbing turn of events as two lives were claimed in a police encounter with the protestors in the Bunder area on 19th December.  This has led to Section 144 being issued in various areas of Mangaluru until Sunday, the 22nd of December 2019, midnight along with an Internet Shutdown for forty-eight hours in Mangaluru and parts of Dakshina Kannada.

Police dispersing the protestors (Image Source: The Hindu)

Situation in Mangaluru city is absolutely peaceful, no incident has been reported in the night, police have been deployed all across the city. Curfew is in force till midnight of December 22 and all internet services have been suspended in public interest,” said P S Harsha, Mangaluru Police Commissioner, to the media on 20th December amidst alleged incidents of police brutality at the Highland Hospital in Mangaluru.

India, in its current state of turmoil, is witnessing sparking riots and protests in various parts of the country. The unrest between the citizens and the law has reached unprecedented levels. Amidst this protest and conflicting opinions, it is important that the citizens stay informed about the bill passed and well aware of the rights that they uphold while they stage a protest.

NOTE: The situation in Manipal and Mangaluru is still developing and the article will be updated with the latest information.