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Thousands renew protests in India against citizenship law

Updated: 2019-12-19 09:47

Demonstrators walk during a protest march against a new citizenship law, on the outskirts of Mumbai, India, Dec 18, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

NEW DELHI - Thousands of people took to the streets in India again on Wednesday against a new citizenship law based on religion that has touched off violent unrest, and a southern state imposed curbs on public gatherings to pre-empt further demonstrations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government says the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is intended to address the persecution of non-Muslim minorities such as Hindus, Sikhs and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Those groups, many of whom have been languishing in India for years without rights, will now get an automatic path to Indian nationality if they came from these three countries before 2015.

India's Supreme Court turned down a plea on Wednesday to halt implementation of the law but said it would hold hearings next month on the sweeping measure, which critics have described as anti-Muslim.

Protesters say the exclusion of Muslims betrays a deep-seated bias against the community, which makes up 14 percent of India's population, and that the law is the latest move in a series by the Hindu nationalist government to marginalise them.

With more demonstrations likely, authorities in the southern state of Karnataka have moved to ban large public gatherings in at least three major cities, a police official said.

The restrictions will come into force on Thursday morning, including in the state capital Bengaluru where offices of dozens of multinational companies including Walmart Inc's Flipkart, Uber, Infosys and Wipro, are based.


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