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UAE witnesses rare public protest

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi [File photo]
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi [File photo]

In a rare display of public opinion in Dubai, a small demonstration has been held to protest against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s controversial citizenship law passed earlier this month.

Writer and human rights activist Iyad El-Baghdadi pointed out that the protestors could potentially be deported by the UAE authorities due to the fact that political demonstrations are outlawed in the country.

The UAE has been known to deport protestors previously, such as Indian construction workers demanding better working conditions.

It is unclear as to whether or not the UAE has given a green light for the protest, not least because it has close ties with India. Modi was awarded the highest civilian honour in August, when he was presented with the “Order of Zayed”.

READ: India: Fears for Muslims grow as 2m excluded from Assam state’s register

There have been widespread protests in India against the law. The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is perceived as being discriminatory to the country’s Muslim minority, as it gives non-Muslim minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who fled to India before 2015 a pathway to citizenship which Muslims in the same position do not have.

It is understood that undocumented Hindus and other religious groups can gain citizenship if they can show that they were persecuted for their faith in the neighbouring Muslim-majority countries.

Al Jazeera has reported that there has been up to 25 deaths so far in almost two weeks of demonstrations and violence, with most reported in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, which has a population of 204 million, 20 per cent of whom are Muslims.

It has also been reported that the authorities have shut down internet services in different parts of the country. Since 2012, the government in New Delhi has suspended internet services 367 times.

India has the world’s largest Muslim minority population, which estimates put at approximately 14 per cent of the overall population.

READ: The growing scandal of Muslim concentration camps

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