Death Toll Pegged At 23, As Anti-CAA Protests Continue Nationwide
As the nation remains on the boil, the anti-CAA agitations have been marred with violence leading to 23 deaths so far.
CAA has become a contentious matter because it provides citizenship to immigrants from Hindu, Zoroastrian, Sikh, Christian, Jain and Buddhist communities who came to India by December 31, 2014 after fleeing religious persecution in Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The exclusion of Muslims has raised concerns given how India is based on tenets of secularism, plurality and equality where religion is not to have a bearing in matters of granting citizenship.
Anti-CAA protests have further been stoked because of its prospective relation with a future National Register of Citizens. Many see the CAA-NRC combination as BJP’s attempt to promote its Hindutva agenda, containing the possibility of rendering Indian Muslims stateless.
Violence during protests has led to casualties. In UP, 16 people have been reported dead. The state remains the worst affected in terms of violence.
Violent protests have erupted mainly from 12 districts, including Firozabad and Muzaffarnagar. On Friday, five deaths were reported from Meerut and two each in Kanpur, Sambhal, Firozabad and Bijnor and one in Rampur. An 8-year-old boy was killed in a stampede in Varanasi when a violent mob was being chased by policemen. Besides, one person was killed in Lucknow during clashes on Thursday. The police has maintained that it didn’t open fire during the agitations and deaths were caused by cross-firing between protestors. DGP, Uttar Pradesh, O P Singh said, “We’re clear on this. If anyone died due to our firing, we’ll conduct a judicial inquiry and take action. But nothing happened from our side.”
Nearly 50 policemen were also reportedly injured in the clashes.
In Assam, five people have died so far. While Sam Stafford (16), Dipanjal Das (19), Abdul Amin (23) and Ishwar Nayak (25) succumbed to injuries caused by police firing, Azizul Hoque (45), died after his truck was set on fire by miscreants.
Meanwhile, Mangaluru has seen two deaths. Jaleel (43) and Nausheen (23) suffered injuries and later died, after police open fired to quell the protests which turned violent when the protestors started stone pelting.
Additionally, the protests have witnessed violence even in educational institutions, when massive police clampdowns took place in JMI and AMU.
Furthermore, parallels are being drawn with Hong Kong protests where, despite the authoritarian nature of Chinese state, only 3 deaths related to direct police action have been reported which started as far back as in March and have acquired increasingly violent dimensions.
In India, 23 casualties have come to light in Anti-CAA protests which started a little over a week ago.