Amid the ongoing protests in different parts of the country, including Delhi, against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday (December 16) appealed citizens and students to end the protests and maintain peace. Both PM Modi and Shah assured that the new Act will not affect any Indian citizen and no one-stop mislead people in the name of CAA.
"I want to unequivocally assure my fellow Indians that CAA does not affect any citizen of India of any religion. No Indian has anything to worry regarding this Act. This Act is only for those who have faced years of persecution outside and have no other place to go except India," PM Modi tweeted.
The prime minister also condemned the incident which took place in Delhi on Saturday (December 15) and said it is "unfortunate and deeply distressing". PM Modi stressed that debate, discussion and dissent are essential parts of democracy but the protesters should not engage in violence. "Debate, discussion and dissent are essential parts of democracy but, never has damage to public property and disturbance of normal life been a part of our ethos," said PM Modi.
While addressing a rally in Jharkhand, Home Minister Shah said that CAA is to give citizenship to religiously persecuted refugees and not to take away the citizenship of any Indian. Attacking the opposition Shah said, ''Some parties are spreading rumours and inciting violence for their political interest. I request students to go through the CAA once and not fall in their trap.''
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee who is continuously raising voice against the new legislation led a massive protest march in Kolkata and said, ''I was alone once against NRC. But today, Delhi's CM, Bihar's CM, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Kerala are also against it. I have asked them to not allow the Citizenship Amendment Act too.''
She further dared the Centre to dismiss her government and declared that the law would be enforced in Bengal 'only over her dead body'. Hundreds of party workers and supporters marched with her carrying placards and raising slogans against the BJP-led government at the Centre.
The national capital also witnessed several protests against the Citizenship Act. Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra staged dharna at Delhi's India Gate in support of students of Jamia and against Citizenship Amendment Act and said that the Congress will fight to protect the Constitution of India. She was accompanied by Congress workers were seen holding placards against the act.
Speaking on the police and students clash in Jamia Nagar on December 15, Delhi Police PRO MS Randhawa said, ''There are a lot of rumours going around over this incident (violence near Jamia), I appeal to everyone especially students to not believe in rumours. Action will be taken against whoever is involved in this incident.''
Delhi metro services also remained affected for the second consecutive day as exit and entry gates of six metro stations were shut down for few hours due to the prevailing tension in the national capital.
The students of many colleges and universities including Institutes of Management (IIMs), Jadavpur University, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), and Hyderabad University raised their voice against the Citizenship Act and extended support to students of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and Jamia Millia Islamia over December 15 incident.
In Uttar Pradesh Section 144 was imposed in nearly six districts and Yogi Adityanath-led government cancelled leaves of all district magistrates and police chiefs for the next seven days amidst rising protest in the state.
Over a dozen pleas have been filed in the Supreme court against the Citizenship Act which includes pleas by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, Tripura's erstwhile ruling family scion Pradyot Kishore Deb Barman, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi and others. Muslim Advocates Association has approached the Supreme Court challenging the Citizenship Amendment Act and asking to declare it unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court on Monday said it will hear the clutch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of the CAA on Wednesday (December 18).