Indian woman held for chanting long live Pakistan at CAA protest
February 22, 2020 01:10 AM
An Indian woman has been arrested and charged with sedition for chanting "long live Pakistan" at a protest in the southern city of Bangalore.
Amulya Leona was participating in a demonstration against a controversial citizenship law, which critics say discriminates against Muslims, reported BBC on Friday.
Asaduddin Owaisi, a prominent Muslim politician, who was at the rally, immediately condemned her comments.
The law offers citizenship to non-Muslims from three nearby countries. The government says the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was formulated to protect minorities fleeing religious persecution, but critics say that religion cannot be made a basis for citizenship in India.
There have been massive protests against the law for months.
After the incident went viral, Ms Leona and her family were the target of massive outrage. Clips of her comment were circulated widely, and her father has complained that a group of people came to his house and forced him to chant "hail mother India". They also told him that he had not brought his daughter up properly and threatened him against getting bail for her.
Police in the district told BBC that they are investigating his complaint.
Mr Owaisi sought to distance himself from the comment. "We, in no way, support our enemy nation Pakistan," he told local reporters afterwards, further adding that neither he nor his political party supported her behaviour.
Muslim politicians in India are often targeted as being "pro-Pakistan" by political rivals, particularly in the last few years.
Police told BBC that Ms Leona would be produced before a judicial magistrate in 14 days.
The law offers amnesty to non-Muslim illegal immigrants from three countries - Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. It amends India's 64-year-old citizenship law, which currently prohibits illegal migrants from becoming Indian citizens.
It also expedites the path to Indian citizenship for members of six religious minority communities - Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian - if they can prove that they are from Muslim-majority Pakistan, Afghanistan or Bangladesh. They will now only have to live or work in India for six years - instead of 11 years - before becoming eligible to apply for citizenship.
The Indian government says this will give sanctuary to people fleeing religious persecution, but critics argue that it will marginalise India's Muslim minority.