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Police on a Rampage: Why it Should Worry all Citizens

Police on a Rampage: Why it Should Worry all Citizens

At least three youngsters were killed in alleged police firing in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh on December 20, days after police in India’s capital city of Delhi was widely criticised for violently cracking down on university students protesting against a newly amended law on citizenship of refugees from three neighboring countries and a proposed plan to have all residents of the country prove their citizenship.

StoriesAsia drove to Muzaffarnagar, about 150 kms from Delhi, to listen to tragic stories of local residents of the Muslim-majority area of Khalapar, where a 26-year-old man was shot dead, another young man received bullet wounds, yet another youngster was allegedly run over by a police vehicle, dozens of vehicles were vandalised allegedly by police and several houses were trespassed and damaged allegedly by policemen accompanied with people in plain clothes.

While nationwide protests are being held against government measures that appear to target the Muslim minority, which is also bearing the brunt of crackdowns by police, StoriesAsia sought to look at how people at large can be affected by the legislation as well as the apparent police brutality. We spoke to a local lawyer, Akram Akhtar, who is providing legal help to protesters being wrongfully detained or arrested.

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The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019, which received Presidential assent on December 12, paves the way for non-Muslim immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to apply for citizenship, and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), currently underway in the northeastern state of Assam and though still unclear how it would play out at the national level, may require all citizens to prove their credentials.

StoriesAsia, a collective of independent journalists from 16 South Asian and Southeast Asian countries, seeks to replace the present-day parade of faceless numbers with humanising narrative nonfiction – a largely ignored journalistic genre in the region.

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