Bollywood's attendance poor in CAA meet with government

A protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Chennai. Credit PTI

A protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Chennai. Credit PTI

More than 40 percent of the estimated population of almost seven million in Hyderabad is Muslim.

The Indian government invited numerous Bollywood stars and film industry personalities to a private gathering on Sunday in an effort to garner support for a new citizenship law that has triggered weeks of sometimes violent protests nationwide.

Braving sub-zero temperature, more than 300 Indian-Americans held a rally in support of the recently enacted Citizenship Amendment Act or CAA in downtown Chicago on Saturday.

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But in fact it is these students who are unifying the country.' The controversial CAA provides for grant of citizenship to non-Muslim refugees which came to India fleeing religious persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh before 2015.

If combined with a proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), critics of the CAA fear it will discriminate against India's Muslim minority and chip away at its secular constitution.

Mass protests, not just by Muslims but by a diverse group of concerned citizens, erupted in several Indian cities after December 15, when police in Delhi's Jamia Milia Islamia University used tear gas and bullets and beat students with wooden batons to disperse protesters.

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Prajakta Kuwalekar, one of the organisers of the protest, said, "Because some of the media is bent on describing the protests as Muslim protests, we decided people from all religions had to turn up".

Protests across Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and several other Indian cities have been ongoing since mid-December previous year.

Hundreds of people gathered at a rally in the technological center of Bangalore, and some accused the Modi government of trying to divide India into communal lines, to distract themselves from a strong internal economic slowdown and job losses.

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