India’s Interior Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday (December 24) defended the use of force by police during nationwide protests against a new citizenship law.
The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) aims to fast-track citizenship for persecuted Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Christians who arrived in India before December 31, 2014, from Muslim-majority Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
At least 21 people have been killed since the law was passed in protests that represent the first major opposition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s legislative agenda since his party’s landslide re-election this year.
“The police get to the point of firing when someone’s life is in danger. If in such a case the police don’t use force, they are not fulfilling their duty,” India’s Interior Minister Amit Shah said during an interview.
New York-based Human Rights Watch criticised the police action and called on them to stop using unnecessary lethal force against demonstrators.
In the last 10 days, police in Uttar Pradesh have taken nearly 900 people into custody for violence. More than 2,000 people have been arrested across India.
(Production: Rosalind Church)