New Delhi: Protests grew against the recently amended Citizenship Act in the north east and other parts of the country, including the national capital, over the weekend, even as opposition parties, led by the Congress, stepped up pressure on the government.
Protests have erupted in North Eastern states, including Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya, demanding a roll back of the amendments to the Act which got President Ram Nath Kovind's assent last week. Protestors, particularly in Assam, have been demanding that unlike other north east states, there is no legal protection in place for them.
On Sunday, curfew was relaxed in parts of Assam. A Press Trust of India report said, quoting officials, that curfew was relaxed from 7 am to 4 pm in Guwahati, in Dibrugarh west, Naharkatia, Tenughat and some other places in the district, and that people stepped out on the streets to buy essential items.
The Citizenship Act amended by Parliament last week aims to provide citizenship to “any person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who entered India on or before 31 December, 2014". Opposition parties and critics have claimed that the act violates provision in the Constitution and is discriminatory against Muslims.
Congress in its political rally in the national capital on Saturday took on the ruling party over provisions of the Act, and the consequent law and order situation in the northeast.
Congress' overseas department too has been holding protest in different countries. Most of these protests have been held in front of Indian embassies in Dublin, New York, Sydney, London, Melbourne, and Muscat among others over the weekend.
Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is scheduled to hold a mega rally in Kolkata on Monday. Both Congress and TMC had vociferously opposed the Bill in both Houses of Parliament.
Interestingly, there is a churning within the National Democratic Alliance. Janata Dal (United) vice president Prashant Kishor, who has opposed his party's support to the legislation, met Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar over the issue on Saturday evening. Kishor told reporters after the meeting that he "stands by the views" he has expressed.