Modi Pushes India Into Revolt

A New Law Upends What It Means to Be Indian

A protest against the new citizenship law in New Delhi, India, December 2019 Javed Dar / Xinhua / Eyevine / Red​ux

For the past week, Indians have flooded the streets in cities and towns across the country to protest a controversial new citizenship law. They have marched in droves despite the imposition of colonial-era prohibitory orders to prevent public assembly. The agitation started in dozens of universities across India, provoking a violent crackdown by the government and the detention of thousands. But demonstrations still spread to give rise to one of the largest pan-India protest movements the country has seen in several decades. Though it has resorted to shutting down Internet and mobile service in several areas (including in New Delhi), the government has not been able to contain the sheer scale of the protest. 

Since its reelection in May, the Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pursued a more strident and divisive series of policy measures, including stripping Kashmir of its semi-autonomous status. Modi’s government has

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