Thousands of people belonging to various organisations took to the streets in cities across Karnataka on Friday to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
In Bengaluru, scores belonging to Muslim organisations held silent protests in the city against the law, which was enacted this week.
The protests were led by organisations including the Jamaat-e-Ulema, and community members from around 600 mosques from across Bengaluru took part in the protest held near Wilson Garden in the city. Syed Shafiulla Saheb, chief adviser of Masjid-Ateeq in Tank Garden, Jayanagar told the Times of India that the Indian government is misleading the public by saying the law is only against illegal immigrants and not a threat to Indian Muslims.
The protesters said that it was now important to have all the required documents and papers in place to prove their citizenship and those with issues like spelling mistakes or change in address will be helped by the community.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act seeks to give a pathway for Indian citizenship to immigrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. It seeks to reduce the requirement of residence in India for citizenship by naturalisation from 11 years to 5 years for these immigrants. The Act excludes immigrants who are Muslims.
Protests were also held in Raichur in Karnataka after it emerged that the citizenship law will grant citizenship to around 5,000 Bangladeshi immigrants staying at a camp in Sindhanur in the district.
The immigrants are Bengali Hindus who are part of around 20,000 immigrants who came to India from Khulna, Jessore, Dhaka, Barisal and Faridpur areas in Bangladesh around the time of the 1971 Indo-Pak war, The Hindu reported.
Celebrations were held at the camp hailing the decision by the Union government. There are similar settlements in as many as 18 states in India.
Section 144 was imposed in Kalaburagi in northern Karnataka except in mosques where Friday prayers were held. A protest was held in Kalaburagi in front of the Police Commissioner's office against the decision to impose prohibitory orders. Protests were also held in Shivamogga, Udupi, Kodagu and Bidar, in protest against the citizenship law.