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New protests in India against law facilitating refugee citizenship

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New protests in India against law facilitating refugee citizenship

New protests have taken place today in India against the law that makes it easier for refugees to obtain Indian nationality as long as they are not Muslims, while London and Washington advise against travel to the northeast of the country, the epicenter of the contest.

Several thousand people gathered in New Delhi today and called on the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to renounce this law which, for its opponents, will "divide" the secular country "on religious grounds".

The amendment amends the Citizenship Act of 1955 to allow Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parish, and Christian immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan who came to the country before 2015 to obtain Indian citizenship.

That is, the new law facilitates the assignment of Indian citizenship to refugees from those countries, provided they are not Muslims.

The demonstrations were marked by episodes of violence in the state of West Bengal, where at least 20 buses and two transport stations were set on fire. Tires on fire were shot and used to block roads by protesters.

In Guwahati, Assam (a state with deep anti-immigrant sentiment), where on Thursday police opened fire on a crowd of protesters, killing two people and wounding 26, several hundred attended the funeral of one of the victims. , Sam Stafford, 18, on Friday.

“We watched the news all day on television, but my nephew left home at night. We asked him not to go, but he went there with his friends, ”the student's aunt Julie Stafford told AFP.

Eighty-five people were arrested during the demonstrations, Assam Police Chief Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta said today in statements to the Press Trust of India news agency.

Faced with the possibility of further protests, authorities extended until Monday the Internet hack in Assam.

On Friday, the Government of Japan announced the postponement of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's trip to India due to the intensification of protests in some parts of the country it planned to visit.

Opposition and human rights organizations point out that this law is part of a Modi nationalist program aimed at marginalizing the 200 million Muslim Indians.

Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa will travel to Delhi next Thursday on a short visit that includes a working meeting with the head of the Government of India, Narendra Modi, with a view to deepening bilateral relations.

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