Published On: Thu, Dec 26th, 2019

Fighting for your rights – don’t forget about duties, Modi tells Indian citizenship bill protesters

PM Narendra Modi has urged critics of the contentious citizenship bill to stay civilized, lashing out against rioters who damaged public property and once again warning Indian people against falling for rumors and misinformation.

“People who damaged public property and were involved in violence in the name of protests in Uttar Pradesh should ask themselves if what they did was right. They destroyed buses and public property that belongs to the future generation,” Modi said in his address at the foundation-laying ceremony of the Atal Bihari Medical University in Lucknow.

I want to tell every resident of Uttar Pradesh that after Independence, we only insisted on our rights. But the time has come to also put emphasis on our duties.

“Better roads, transport and sewer are our rights, and it’s our duty to protect it. Quality education is our right but safety of educational institutions and respect for teachers is our duty. Secure atmosphere is our right, but it’s also duty of citizens to respect the work of police,” he said, praising the Uttar Pradesh police for doing a “good job.”

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The Uttar Pradesh administration earlier promised to slap rioters with fines, estimating the damage inflicted on public and state property at over $ 14 million. Rallies across the state turned especially violent, resulting in at least 18 casualties out of the nationwide death toll of 25. Accused of using excessive force, police claim they only resorted to live fire in rare self-defense cases when overwhelmed  by violent protesters.

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that sparked rallies across India grants fast-track naturalization to religious minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh – but it does not extend to Muslims.

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Protesters pelt stones at police personnel during clashes over citizenship law in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India December 20, 2019 © REUTERS TV / ANI
An invasion of falsehoods: India’s ‘liberals’ running propaganda war over new citizenship law

Critics claim that the new measures are discriminatory, stoking fears that Muslims would be rounded up and sent to detention centers, especially since aside from that the government also plans to compile the National Register of Citizens to tally up illegal immigrants on Indian soil.

New Delhi strongly rejects criticism, insisting that the move quite the opposite demonstrate “a culture of compassion” towards persecuted minorities and will not affect Indian Muslims in any way.

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An Indian woman waits with school children for their bus in front of a 'population clock' showing India's population, on World Populatiuon Day in Mumbai on July 11, 2018.
India allocates funds for census amid protests over new citizenship measures

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