The Muslim majority town of Malerkotla in Punjab’s Sangrur district Friday observed complete bandh in protest against the new citizenship law.
Punjab Minister and local MLA Razia Sultana, members of the Aam Aadmi Party as well as Shiromani Akali Dal came out in support of the protests by different organizations. Incidentally, the Akali Dal had voted in support of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill-2019 in the Parliament, which was passed by both the Houses this week. It paves the way for grant of Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
A dharna was organised near Eid Gah where Razia Sultana addressed the locals. “As has been stated by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, we will not implement the new citizenship law. We are against it and will stand with all of you,” she said.
Mubeen Farooqi, president of Muslim Federation of Punjab, said, “The new citizenship law is one step towards National Registration of Citizens (NRC) and by excluding Muslims, they have created a clear divide in this country”.
From AAP, Jamil-Ur-Rehman, the party constituency in charge of Malerkotla, attended the dharna.
All private schools and colleges in Malerkotla remained closed apart from all the markets. As per the information, no buses moved in or out of Malerkotla bus stand. Buses coming from other routes were diverted via the bypass.
Meanwhile, Malerkotla Superintendent of Police, MS Brar took a memorandum from the protesters addressed to the President of India.