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‘Deeply distressing’ to see violent riots against citizenship bill aimed at shielding victims of persecution outside India – Modi

‘Deeply distressing’ to see violent riots against citizenship bill aimed at shielding victims of persecution outside India – Modi
The citizenship bill that would fast-track citizenship for foreign minorities in India reflects its “culture of compassion” and won’t harm any Indian, PM Modi said, as he lamented the violent riots that broke out over the issue.

A wave of riots has swept across the capital Delhi, as well as Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and other cities this week, prompting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address the nation in a series of emotive tweets.

“Violent protests on the Citizenship Amendment Act are unfortunate and deeply distressing,” Modi wrote. While Indians do have the right for dissent and debate, “damage to public property and disturbance of normal life” won't be tolerated.

The legislation in question grants citizenship to all members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities from
neighboring countries, but rules out Muslims in the six designated religious groups – a fact that has angered Islamic congregations across India.

Now, Modi is trying to calm down tempers and has denied any religious bias.

I want to unequivocally assure my fellow Indians that CAA does not affect any citizen of India of any religion. No Indian has anything to worry [about] regarding this Act. This Act is only for those who have faced years of persecution outside and have no other place to go except India.

The Act, already signed into law by India’s president, received “overwhelming support from a large number of political parties and MPs,” the prime minister reminded citizens, and is not as divisive as critics may think, Modi offered. To him, it illustrates “India’s centuries-old culture of acceptance, harmony, compassion and brotherhood.”

The protests, in which several people have lost their lives, erupted on Thursday in the northern tea-growing state of Assam, before spilling over to other parts of the country. On Sunday, several buses were set on fire by demonstrators in Delhi, as were a number of railway stations in West Bengal; police had to use tear gas and batons to disperse the crowds.

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