Is the Indian government against Muslims

Protests in India : No passport for Muslims

"I am protesting peacefully," said the well-known Indian historian Ramachandra Guha in front of the cameras. "But look here, they are stopping us," added the 61-year-old quickly as a group of police forcibly dragged him into a prisoner van in front of the Bangalore City Hall. Like Guha, hundreds of protesters in India who protested the new citizenship law fared Thursday. In the capital New Delhi, police arrested students protesting in front of the Red Fort, a palace complex from the Mughal era. But as more and more students poured into the forecourt of the facility, the officials began to cordon off the entire area. "There are too many to arrest everyone," commented Kawalpreet Kaur, chairwoman of the Indian student association on Twitter. What began last week as a protest against a law apparently directed against Muslim immigrants has now become a struggle for the preservation of democracy and freedom of expression in India.

Though the government had banned gatherings in many parts of the country, thousands took to the streets. In order to contain the protests, dozens of metro stations were closed and road blockades were erected, the cellular network was switched off in places and the access roads into the capital were closed.

The reason for the massive wave of protests is a law that only grants Indian citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants from the neighboring countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The Hindu nationalist government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi had brought the reform through parliament last week, apparently without expecting such resistance - even from non-Muslims. At least six people have been killed in the protests so far. The brutal use of the police against students with at least 100 injuries is also sharply criticized by the opposition. Security forces stormed the campus of Jamia Millia Islamia University in the capital and Aligarh Muslim University in Aligarh, northern India, and used tear gas and batons against students.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tries to appease

Even Bollywood icon Shah Rukh Khan came under fire: "You are a former student of Jamia Millia, but your silence is worrying at the moment," wrote the young Indian Shubham Singh on Twitter. Other Bollywood stars, however, were more open. Actor Hrithik Roshan declared his solidarity with the students: “Great teachers learn from their students. I bow to the youngest democracy in the world. "

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tries to appease. He assures the citizens that the law will not put anyone in India worse off. However, Modi and Interior Minister Amit Shah, the architect of the reform, have already stated that the law will not be withdrawn. It is doubtful, however, whether this stance is effective in the face of the wave of protests.

The newspaper "The Hindu" criticizes that the Modi government aimed from the outset to separate Muslims and Hindus from one another and to bid farewell to the democratic republic. Others warn that the protest could quickly become dangerous for the government. The universities were the last bastions of freedom of expression. Modi had forgotten that he, too, once started out as a student activist, commented the newspaper "The Quint". Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had also learned that the declaration of a state of emergency and the imprisonment of the opposition only sealed her political end. Back then, in 1977, the students also played a decisive role in this.

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