India has witnessed an outbreak of protests across the country and even abroad, ever since the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 came into force on 12 December. The police responded with brute force, leading to the death of several protesters in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Assam, and a brutal crackdown against students, particularly in Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia. As protests raged on in several cities, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government at the centre claimed that the police crackdown was in response to violent protests that were spurred by the Congress. On 15 December, while addressing a rally in Jharkhand, where a five-phase assembly election is currently ongoing, Prime Minister Narendra Modi remarked, “Those who are creating violence can be identified by their clothes”—ostensibly, a reference to the Muslim community.
The protests themselves, however, expose the blatant falsehoods of Modi’s comments. The protestors have visibly been from a range of communities. The Caravan spoke to ten protestors from Bengaluru, Mumbai, New York and Delhi about why they chose to protest.