Demonstrations Continue

Dec 20, 2019

On 19 December 2019, demonstrations continued across India against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which Parliament passed on 12 December. Protesters gathered in more than 15 major cities despite an official ban on public gatherings of more than four people under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code as well as the suspension of internet and mobile data services in areas near expected protests. Protesters blocked major highways and access to railway stations throughout the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. In the Daliganj suburb of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh’s state capital, protesters burned vehicles and threw stones at police officers, who attempted to disperse the crowd with baton charges and tear gas. At least one person was reportedly killed during clashes in the city. Separately, in Mangaluru (Mangalore), located in the southern Karnataka state, at least 20 people — including protesters and police officers — were injured in protest-related violence; two of the injured remain in critical condition. Authorities have imposed a curfew in at least five districts in Mangaluru until 0000 local time on 21 December (1830 UTC on 20 December) to curb further escalation of violence.

Elsewhere in the country, police officers detained hundreds of protesters in major cities — including Bengaluru (Bangalore), Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi — for participating in demonstrations. In New Delhi, widespread demonstrations resulted in the closure of at least 18 metro stations. Authorities also restricted mobile phone service in parts of the city, including in the vicinity of the Red Fort. In addition, IndiGo airlines canceled at least 19 flights and delayed 16 others scheduled to operate through Indira Gandhi International Airport (VIDP/DEL) after citywide traffic gridlocks and road restrictions prevented crew members from reaching the facility. Other airlines also canceled an unspecified number of flights. Meanwhile, in Mumbai, thousands of protesters gathered at the Gowalia Tank Maidan to participate in anti-CAA protests. Additionally, approximately 60,000 demonstrators peacefully gathered for a protest in the town of Malegaon, located in Maharashtra state.

Travelers and expatriates in the aforementioned areas should expect severe transportation disruptions and restrictions on mobile phone service with little to no notice. Individuals in India should avoid any large gatherings due to the probability of being collaterally affected by violence at these protests and should adhere to directives from local authorities.

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