Yale-NUS building

Students and affiliates of Singapore’s Yale-NUS College on Thu (19 Dec) drafted a petition against the “violent suppression” of “peaceful student protesters” by India’s police force at various Muslim-majority universities across the nation, following the federal government’s decision to introduce the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
The petition highlighted that police had deployed various “reprehensible” means of handling the protesters such as “teargas, physical assault, internet blockades” and even “forceful entry into university campuses”.
The alleged instances of police brutality have also directly affected “members of the Yale-NUS community”, who “have faced and are facing various degrees of arbitrary government repression in India”.
“We strongly believe that these protests act as a means of checks and balances in a situation where the government forcibly exercises the shut down of internet services, the use of police violence to silence opposition and the unwillingness of the government to engage in productive discourse with the members of the parliament, the citizens and the very Indian Constitution’s democratic premises,” the petition read.
The Yale-NUS petitioners also argued that the “true impact of CAA, however, becomes apparent when seen in combination with the National Register of Citizens (NRC)”.
“The latter, currently implemented only in the state of Assam but with plans to be turned into a national policy, requires people to prove their citizenship status by providing documentation that goes back several generations.
“Given the state of document-keeping practices in most of the country, this is an ineffective way to create a register of Indian citizens,” according to the Yale-NUS petitioners, adding that the joint workings of CAA will complicate the process of obtaining Indian citizenship for “documented Muslim refugees”, and will in turn open the gates to “the systematic prosecution of Muslim citizens who lack appropriate documentation”.
The petition listed four demands, namely:

  • The scrapping of the implementation of CAA and the NRC in its present form in favour of a “non-discriminatory and humane means of integrating refugees” into India;
  • A follow-up in the form of an “investigation into abuse of power by the police, especially in the Aligarh Muslim and Jamia Millia Islamia universities”;
  • All non-violent protests be allowed to continue “in concordance with our Fundamental Rights”; and
  • The restoration of Internet access and telecommunication services “wherever it has been arbitrarily throttled by the government”.

Critics of CAA — including Yale-NUS petitioners — warn against erosion of India’s democratic, secular principles enshrined in Constitution
Under CAA, only non-Muslim migrants from neighbouring Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan will effectively be given amnesty on the grounds of protecting religious minorities from persecution in the three countries.
The protection afforded to non-Muslim migrants under CAA is seen by critics — including the Yale-NUS students who had drafted the petition on Thu — as a violation of the secular nature of India’s Constitution.
“The foundations of a truly democratic Republic of India rests on several key pillars enshrined in the Constitution. Foremost among these are secularism, abrogated by the enactment of the CAA, and the freedom of speech its people have, which has been suppressed inevitably by the government’s violent crackdown on peaceful protesters, especially in its own educational institutions,” according to the Yale-NUS petitioners.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, however, has previously rejected similar criticism, saying that such laws will have “no effect on citizens of India, including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Christians and Buddhists”.
BBC News also reported Modi as saying that the opposition had been “spreading lies and rumours” and “instigating violence” and “creating an atmosphere of illusion and falsehood”.
Internet shutdowns in various regions across India following widespread dissent
The New York Times reported on Tue that authorities in Assam, as well as other states such as Meghalaya and Tripura, had shut down Internet services as a result of the widespread dissent across the nation. West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh — two of India’s most populous states — also “registered disturbances”, NYT observed.
Kashmir — a region whose autonomous status was revoked by Modi’s government in early Aug — is experiencing a total communications shutdown to this date, stunting not only public dissent against CAA, but also those who rely on an online marketplace to conduct commercial activities.
President of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad told NYT that is “no work”, and that the dignity of the people in Kashmir “has been taken away” as a result of the shutdowns, given that thousands of entrepreneurs — especially makers of silk scarves and handicrafts — sold their products online through social media.
According to NYT, the authorities said that the shutdown was a means of curbing “the spread of hateful and dangerous misinformation, which can move faster on Facebook, WhatsApp and other services than their ability to control it”.
Tech Crunch reported on Fri (20 Dec) that three of India’s leading telecommunications networks — Reliance Jio, Vodafone and Airtel — had cut their mobile coverage in parts of New Delhi, the capital of India, on Thu morning.
The three companies reportedly said that they had done so under the government’s direction, according to Tech Crunch.
While services were restored the same afternoon, the Indian government had allegedly issued a similar direction for the city of Mangalore — a commercial hub in the state of Karnataka — just hours later.
Such Internet shutdowns are no longer restricted to being the hallmark of authoritarian governments, as demonstrated by the curbs in democratic India.
Berhan Taye, a senior policy analyst at Access Now, told The Guardian that such Internet shutdowns are becoming more widespread as nations “are learning from each other, how these shutdowns work and how they can be implemented”.
“It’s like a child is at the switch, turning it on and off whenever they fear something is happening,” Taye said, citing examples such as Iraq, Venezuela, and in Ethiopia where such shutdowns are costing its economy an estimated US$4.5m a day.

Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
You May Also Like

地铁行驶中没关门 SMRT致歉 站长遭停职

地铁列车未关好车门就开车,乘客纷纷抓住扶手,避免跌下车。如此惊悚的一幕被网友录下后放上社交媒体,立刻引起其他网民纷纷表示恐怖,新加坡地铁有限公司(SMRT Trains Limited)接获报告立刻道歉,地铁站站长被停职。 根据视频提供的网民指出,有关的地铁列车是一辆南北地铁线向北行驶的列车。有关列车是从宏茂桥地铁站开往杨厝港地铁站时,车门有一扇车门并没有关上。 SMRT在今天(12日)早上发出文告,证实有关事件的发生。文告中指出,有关的事件是在11日傍晚约7时30分发生。 有关的列车车门当时发生故障,地铁站长仍然在车内车内处理故障的车门时,列车开跑了。 SMRT企业通讯副总裁张耀美(Margaret Teo)指出,当时列车内立刻广播要求所有乘客远离故障的车门,以及抓住扶手。 她指出,列车在行驶了约200米后停车了,再返回到宏茂桥地铁站,让所有的乘客安全下车,而车门故障的列车也立即暂提服务。 张瑶美补充说,SMRT立刻将有关车站的站长停职处理,安全是该公司的首要考量,并对此事表示歉意。 初步调查显示,站长错误操作,导致列车在有一扇门还未关上的情况下,离开地铁站。 非首次发生意外…

Reuters journalists in Singapore protest imprisonment of colleagues in Myanmar; Singapore Police Force warns public of illegality of public assembly without permit

Following a protest by Reuters journalists and editors outside their Asia-Pacific headquarters…

Duo from The Real Singapore arrested under Sedition Act

Two persons from The Real Singapore (TRS) have been arrested and investigated by…

早到却还没人上班意义何在? 国大民调冀检讨“早鸟票”优惠价值

民调发现,比起更快捷的巴士服务,上班族更愿意乘坐地铁,因为它比巴士服务更稳定,不会受到天气或道路交通状况所影响。 该项民调由国大执行,研究者发现上班族对于交通工作选择支出较大,对地铁“早鸟票”的价值进行质疑,因此透过分析大量的公共交通数据包括新加坡所有e-zlink 持有者如儿童、学生、成人或老年人,并对此进行筛选,欲提供有效建议增进公共巴士服务。 结果发现,每10位上班族则仅一位搭乘公共巴士,而每10位老年人中,就有近三位是搭乘公共巴士。即便公共巴士在部分路段可能更短、更节省时间,但上班族更倾向选择地铁作为他们的通勤工具,因为比起公共巴士,地铁服务更稳定可靠。 民调更是质疑地铁“早鸟票”优惠的成效。早鸟票优惠旨在鼓励更多通勤者避免高峰时期搭乘,例如于早上7点45分前抵达18个区域的地铁站将会获得免费搭乘,但事实上,优惠的发挥有限,因为上班族对于车票并不在意。 “早到,同事却还没抵达” 国立大学商学院Sumit Agarwal表示,上班族将工作效益置于车票之上,只有在他们所需之时才会提早抵达工作场所。 “如果他们为了开会能够早点抵达,那没关系,可是当他们早到了之后,却发现还没有人上班,那早点抵达的意义何在?” 对此,本地英语媒体《今日报》向陆交局询问,陆交局称优惠计划仍能达到更好分配出行需求,而且在早高峰时段出现7巴仙的变动。 由于优惠的目标相当成功,因此陆交局在2017年推出另项延伸计划:所有通勤者于早上7点45分之前抵达地铁站,将享有0.50元的折扣。目前该项计划每天让33万6000名通勤者收益,猛增12巴仙。 巴士服务比地铁较不稳定,上班族宁搭较贵的地铁…