all photos by Lee Yu Kyung
The Indian Government Should Withdraw its Anti-People Citizenship Law and Guarantee Freedom to Protest!
Seoul. 27 December, 2019
On December 11th, 2019, the Indian government passed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The law grants citizenship to those who arrived in India from its neighboring countries (Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan) before Dec. 31st, 2014. The problem is that Muslims are excluded from the application of the law, which directly violates Article 14 of the Indian Constitution that “offers basic equality to all citizens” and the principle of secularism in the Indian Constitution that “treats all religions fairly.”
It is feared that the law will lead to discrimination and repression for a considerable number of refugees, including about 150,000 Tamils and 40,000 Rohingya refugees who have emigrated from Sri Lanka and Myanmar respectively. Of India’s total population of 1.35 billion, 200 million Muslims are already oppressed and discriminated by the Hindu nationalism that the Modi government is reinforcing, and they fear that suppression of the Muslims will be intensified by the law.
Residents of the Indian border regions, including outraged Muslims across India, are vehemently protesting against the law. More than 4,000 people have now been detained in the process, and dozens of protesters have been killed as the Indian government violently quelled the protests. The Indian government has even blocked the Internet in the northeastern region of India where the protest is intensifying and some parts of Delhi, where Jamia Milia Islamia University that has staged the strongest protest is located. The Internet shutdown is also a measure that has been going on for months in the Kashmir region, where the Indian government is already waging a territorial dispute.
Universities are the symbol of resistance in the CAA protests. On December 15th, police raided the library of Jamia Milia Islamia University (JMU), a public school with large numbers of Muslim students, fired tear gas shells, and one student lost his sight in this process. On the same day, police even broke into the dormitory of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh and the student who was hit by a tear gas thrown by the police officer had to amputate his left hand. On December 20th, witnesses say that 14 protesters were shot and killed by police. Although Indian police have denied using live ammunition, videos of police firing live ammunition are spreading in social media. In particular, the Uttar Pradesh state, which is governed by the BJP, the ruling party, is fiercely resisting, since the crackdown on Muslims has been especially severe in the region.
Since 2014, where Modi prime minister who asserts Hindu nationalism to the front took power, Muslims and other minorities in India have been exposed to the violence of Hindu ultra-rightists. Along with this situation, passing such a blatantly discriminatory bill is a direct violation of the Indian Constitution as well as the International Convention on Human Rights which asserts the freedom of demonstration. Despite civil societies of the Republic of Korea have been expressing concerns and criticizing anti-human rights policies and behaviors of the Modi government, the Korean government strengthens cooperation with the Modi government. The Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation even bestowed Modi with the Seoul Peace Prize in March 2019. And Korean government authorities also attended the awards ceremony. Considering the fact that the Modi government politically exploited the Seoul Peace Prize for the general election, the Korean society is no longer free from the responsibility of the protests currently taking place in India.
Civil societies of the Republic of Korea support Indian citizens who are fighting against the Modi government’s anti-human rights violence that discriminates, banishes, and excludes minorities including Muslims. Therefore, we firmly declaim against the Indian government’s violent suppression of demonstration that cut off communication services and ignores the safety of citizens. The policy of the Modi government schemingly passing of the unconstitutional bill and destroying communities should be withdrawn immediately.
We, Korean civil societies strongly urge the following:
- The Modi government should instantly withdraw the Citizenship Amendment Act(CAA).
- The Modi government should withdraw prohibition of demonstration and communication services cut off throughout India including Kashmir.
- The Modi government should discontinue discrimination policies against Muslims, treat and protect all citizens and refugees equally.
- The Korean government should state its stance toward anti-human rights policies of the Modi government and reconsider its cooperation with the Modi government.
Asian Dignity Initiative
Catholic Human Rights Committee
Center for Human Rights SARAM
Dasan Human Rights Center
Human Rights Movement Space ‘Hwal’
Incorporated Organization Silcheon Bulgyo
Jeju Peace Human Rights Institute WHAT
Jesuit Center for Advocacy and Solidarity
Korean House for International Solidarity
Korean Solidarity for Overseas Community Organization
Migrant workers movement supporters group
MINBYUN – Lawyers for a Democratic Society International Solidarity Committee
PAIDEIA Research Institute, Gwangju
Palestine Peace and Solidarity in South Korea
People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy
Society of International Solidarity in Justice Party
Solidarity for Another World
Solidarity For Peace & Human Rights
Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights of Asia
Contact: Hyun Phil Na, Director of Korean House for International Solidairty, [email protected]