The pressure is mounting on hardline Hindu nationalist Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as death toll rising from street protests across India. So far 25 protestors have been killed. Hundreds have been injured. Thousands have been arrested throughout India. According to police sources- more than 7500 people have been arrested or detained under emergency laws.
More than 5000 thousand people have been arrested in Utter Pradesh alone. Some 500 people have also been injured in Uttar Pradesh, while 17 killed. The two people were shot dead in the southern state of Karnataka and six died in Assam in the northeast last week.
According to the international news agency AFP-at an all-women protest in Guwahati, in the northeastern state of Assam – where the wave of protests started amid fears the immigrants would dilute their local cultures – participants said it was time to speak up. “We came out to fight for our motherland, we came to fight without any arms and ammunition, we will fight peacefully said a women protestor Lily Dutta.”
In Uttar Pradesh in northern India, where Muslims make up almost 20 per cent of the state’s population of 200 million, 15 people were killed in clashes with police in a single day, state police Chief O.P. Singh said. The UP Chief Minister an extremist Hindu-nationalist has unleashed brutal police force against protestors. The police even beaten up children and detained them. The police beaten up lawyers and intellectuals and arrested them in a show of disrespect.
The Delhi police disrupted the internet- transport and Metro services in Delhi to stop protests taking place. The police in Delhi arrested many teenage boys for participating in peaceful protest. Scores of shoes and skull caps were left strewn on the nearly mile-long carriageway that connects the old city with central Delhi after the clashes. More than 50 sustain injuries as police responded with brute force.
The police are using highhandedness and excessive force against mostly peacefully protestors. After using batons- tear gas and bullets against protestors- killing and injuring them but also accusing them for violence. It is clear that Indian state is using violent force to suppress the protests but shifting the blame on protestors.
The scale of protests that have already spread to almost every Indian town and city and involving millions of people started to put pressure on the Modi government. The government is worried about rising death toll as the result of deadly police crackdown and excessive use of force.
Authorities have imposed emergency laws, blocked internet access — a common tactic in India — and shut down shops in sensitive areas across the country in an attempt to contain the unrest.
There is no letup in the street protests led by students after 10 days of repression and police gardi. The Modi government has clearly displayed that it has no respect for the democratic and constitutional right of peaceful protest and dissent. Modi government has displayed its authoritarian and fascist credentials in last 10 days. The police entered into Jamia Millia University without the permission of university administration and ransacked the historical library of this historical educational institute founded by Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar. This action clearly demonstrated that Modi government has respect for places like libraries and education institutions.
The law gives religious minority members — Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Christians and Buddhists — from three neighbouring Islamic countries an easier path to citizenship, but not if they are Muslim.
Modi tried to calm down the protestors and worried Muslims on Saturday. He tried to assure the Muslim population of more than 220 million in India saying that Muslims “don’t need to worry at all — provided they are genuine Indians. Muslims who are sons of the soil and whose ancestors are the children of mother India need not to worry” about the law and his plans to carry out a national register of citizens”.
He also accused the main opposition party Congress of condoning the violence by not condemn it. Modi said opponents were “spreading rumours that all Muslims will be sent to detention camps. There are no detention centres. All these stories about detention centres are lies, lies and lies lamented the Modi.” The BJP and RSS are planning to organise counter protests across India. That might add more violence on streets. The BJP and RSS cadres will try to use violent means to suppress the protestors.
But it seems that his assurances are not enough to calm down the angry protests and worried Muslim communities. The Modi government is now concerned about growing protests that are getting stronger and big in numbers. The government is worried that if the brutal use of force failed to repress the movement than what options it will leave with to deal with protestors and opposition.
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