About two dozen Indian students from various research institutes in Israel staged a silent protest in front of the Indian embassy on Friday against the amended citizenship law and the proposed National Register of Citizens, terming them acts of "state-sponsored instrument of class and religious persecution".
According to the amended Act, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 and face religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship. President Ram Nath Kovind had given assent to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, turning it into an Act.
Holding Indian flags and posters with captions - “CAA is non-secular”, “students at work, country under construction”, “we built Statue of Unity, now we want social unity” and “criticism is integral to any democracy, listen to youth’s ‘mann ki baat’”, the students mainly from Weizmann Institute and Tel Aviv University stood in front of the Indian mission for several hours, braving inclement weather.
The students also condemned the violence and use of “excessive force against our fellow peers and other citizens in India”.
They termed the CAA and National Register of Citizens (NRC) as “acts of state-sponsored instrument of class and religious persecution”.
“We call upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah not to curb our fundamental right of freedom of expression and peaceful protest,” the students said in a statement.
“The CAA in combination with the proposed NRC fundamentally contradicts the right to equality and secularism as per Article 14 and Article 15 of our Constitution respectively and can be used as a tool for harassment of bonafide Indians, as is already being witnessed in Assam. Where is the promise Ambedkar made?” it said.
With the “abuse of state machinery” to suppress the voice of dissent, destruction of property, the arrests of academics and students, the civilian casualties, India continues to be in search of achhe din, it said.