INDIA: HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS TAKE TO THE STREETS


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Hundreds of thousands continue to protest throughout India against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new citizenship law. The act specifically makes religion a basis of citizenship, which is considered by the protesters a direct violation of India’s secular constitution.
The bill specifically excludes Muslims, of which there are over 200 million living in India, from rights of citizenship.
Since India passed its Citizenship (Amendment) Act in December, some 30 protesters have been killed, hundreds wounded, and over 1,000 arrested.
Last month, Amit Shah, the Home Minister and a close ally of Prime Minister Modi, stated that the government will begin “weeding out” undocumented immigrants and has repeatedly referred to Muslim immigrants as “termites.”
A week ago, protests again escalated after videos posted on social media showed masked assailants invading the dormitories of Jawaharlal Nehru University and beating up students and teachers. The university has been the scene of a number of campus demonstrations against the government’s anti-Muslim legislation.
Dozens were injured, including nurses and doctors who had arrived to offer medical treatment. It is not yet known whom the mob represented.
Violence against protesters has been an ongoing trend for over a month, as millions of Indian citizens, both Muslim and non-Muslim, continue to show public anger of the new repressive legislation being used by Prime Minister Modi and his supporters to make India a Hindu nation.
Others accuse the Modi regime of using the law as a divisive tactic aimed to distract citizens from the continuing economic slowdown, which has led to high unemployment.
Last week, tens of thousands of trade union workers went on strike in parts of India, disrupting transport and banking services in protest of the government’s inaction to stop the economic contraction and planned privatization of public sector jobs.
This past Saturday, millions of workers and Indian citizens joined a one-day strike to oppose Modi’s government and its austerity policies.
In addition to the furor over the anti-Muslim legislation, a massive coalition of auto, coal, transportation, and bank workers joined in the country-wide strike. The protest movement in India has been building up since 2014 when a group of the country’s billionaires and large corporate interests backed Modi’s re-election.
Since his re-election, Modi has pushed through a number pro-investor, anti-worker policies including austerity measures that have primarily hurt poor and middle class workers.
TREND FORECAST: With the Indian economy in its seventh consecutive quarter of contraction and protests mounting against Modi, we forecast his government will harshly crack down on all opposition movements. Thus, violence will continue to escalate.

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