College Students Demonstrate Over India's Citizenship Law The marches cap nearly a week of protests over the new citizenship law, which grants amnesty to non-Muslim migrants. Critics say the measure discriminates against Muslims.
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College Students Demonstrate Over India's Citizenship Law

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College Students Demonstrate Over India's Citizenship Law

College Students Demonstrate Over India's Citizenship Law

College Students Demonstrate Over India's Citizenship Law

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/788349761/788350423" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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The marches cap nearly a week of protests over the new citizenship law, which grants amnesty to non-Muslim migrants. Critics say the measure discriminates against Muslims.

NOEL KING, HOST:

On college campuses across India, students are demonstrating today. There have been almost a week of protests over a new Indian citizenship law. It offers amnesty to migrants who are not Muslim. Critics say it discriminates against Muslims. NPR's Lauren Frayer reports that in the capital New Delhi, the protests have gotten violent.

(SOUNDBITE OF WEAPON FIRING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: They're firing into the campus.

LAUREN FRAYER, BYLINE: More than 200 people were injured when Delhi Police stormed the campus of Jamia Millia University (ph) last night. They fired tear gas and beat students with batons. Dormitories were evacuated. Videos posted to social media show bloodied students fleeing into a library and a men's restroom. The university's vice chancellor, Najma Akhtar, told reporters she's filing a police report against police.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NAJMA AKHTAR: (Speaking Hindi).

FRAYER: "Damaged property can be recovered, but the emotional toll this has taken on our kids cannot be repaired," she said.

The Citizenship Amendment Act passed by Parliament last week offers amnesty to undocumented migrants from three Muslim-majority countries that neighbor India - Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. To be eligible, the person has to be a persecuted religious minority - a Buddhist, Christian or Hindu, for example, and not a Muslim. The government says India should be a refuge for those minorities. But critics say that by excluding Muslims, this citizenship offer violates India's constitution.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT PROTESTERS: (Reading) ...Equality...

FRAYER: At a protest today in Mumbai, students read aloud the constitution's preamble, which defines India as a secular democratic republic. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist, tweeted that no Indian has anything to worry about with this new law. But he also made a comment at a political rally last night.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRIME MINISTER NARENDRA MODI: (Speaking Hindi).

FRAYER: "Those behind these violent protests can be identified by their clothes," the prime minister said. He seemed to suggest that anyone in Muslim attire was a suspect.

India has one of the world's largest Muslim populations - about 180 million people - who many believe are increasingly disenfranchised under Modi's government.

Lauren Frayer, NPR News, Mumbai.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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