Several Indian opposition parties launched a concerted effort to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in the parliament. Motions to adjourn all business and address the "prevailing situation in the country" were filed in both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, the upper and lower chambers of the legislature.
During question time, opposition MPs lashed out at the CAA and the government's handling of mass protests against the act. Several states in India rejected the new rules that fast-track citizenship for non-Muslim migrants from three neighboring Muslim-majority nations, RT reported.
As protests continued, particular anger was vented by opposition MPs over a string of shooting incidents at the Jamia Millia Islamia University, one of the focal points of the protests. The latest happened on Sunday night. Some opposition figures accused the government of turning a blind eye to such acts of violence or even encouraging them in the hope of discouraging protests.
Legislators had to deal with opposition MPs chanting slogans like "Save the constitution" and "Save India." The chaotic scenes culminated in a walkout from the Lok Sabha as a BJP legislator was presenting a motion to issue formal thanks to President Ram Nath Kovind, who earlier on Friday hailed the CAA as "historic" in his address to the joint sitting of both houses of parliament.
The person submitting the proposal, Parvesh Verma, was banned from campaigning for 96 hours last week by India's Election Commission as punishment for divisive remarks he had made. The MP stood by his opinion that "Muslims want to take over India," and protested against the ban with a video of himself wearing a black band over his mouth.
Many criticize the law saying it discriminates against Muslims and is against India’s constitution.
The Indian government has rejected criticism of the law, insisting that the CAA is a humanitarian act and is meant to protect religious minorities in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh from persecution. It says the legislation is not detrimental to anyone, and that Muslims, like any other foreigners, can still acquire citizenship through the usual procedures.