The people of India have taken their unheard voices to the streets to protest the passing of the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the world has been watching us.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha during its Winter session with 125 votes in favour and 105 votes opposing the bill.
College students, locals and some known faces have openly criticised the bill and called it unconstitutional. Critics have said that the bill violates Article 14, which promises equality before the law to all irrespective of their religion and other discriminatory factors.
As the protests turned violent, protesting college students had nowhere to hide as the police resorted to shooting tear gas sheets and opening lathi-charge. Students and locals were chased on the streets, inside university campuses and hostels. Internet in universities was curtailed and college property was damaged. More than 50 students of the Jamia Milia university were severely injured.
While all of it unfurled on live television in India, several international media outlets condemned the use of force by police and its attempt to create a hostile atmosphere.
Here’s how the international media covered the CAA protests in India:
New York Times
The NYT called the Citizenship Amendment Act ‘divisive’ in its article yesterday. An NYT article’s headline was, “Protests spread across India over divisive citizenship bill”
Another article’s headline published on the website read, “As Protests Rage, Is India Moving Closer to Becoming a Hindu Nation?”
The Washington Post
The Washington Post reported on CAA protests with the headline, “Across India, opposition building against citizenship law” The article talked about the ruling government’s positioning of the Act and the opposition’s reaction to the BJP-led govt calling the act as a humanitarian gesture.
Al Jazeera published a couple of articles on the CAA protests in India. The articles carried the headlines, “What you should know about India's 'anti-Muslim' citizenship law” and “India police storm Jamia, AMU to break citizenship law protests.”
In its article titled, “Indian students join fierce protests against ‘anti-Muslim’ citizenship law,” by The Guardian explained why people have taken to the streets against CAA. The article said, “However, the government, led by Narendra Modi, has an openly Hindu nationalist agenda and wants to reshape India as a Hindu rather than secular nation. Since he first came to power five years ago, he has introduced numerous measures which opponents say divide the country down communal lines, with the aim of ostracising India’s 200 million minority Muslims.”
The newspaper also published a graphic of the Indian map showing places where anti-CAA protests were on.
The BBC featured a piece authored by its Indian correspondent with the heading, “ Why has India's Assam erupted over an 'anti-Muslim' law?” The article attempted to explain the problems with the CAA and NRC can affect Assam.
The newspaper also wrote on the controversial police actions at the Jamia Milia University in Delhi. Its article, “Citizenship Amendment Act: Delhi police in 'shooting' row as protests spread”, talked about the clash between protestors, locals and the police in Delhi.
The Bill seeks to grant Indian citizenship to refugees from Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Zoroastrian communities fleeing religious persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh who entered India on or before December 31, 2014.