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385-mile human chain: Indians line up to protest citizenship law

People in India form a human chain to protest the country's citizenship law in Kerala on Sunday, January 26, 2020.
People in India form a human chain to protest the country's citizenship law in Kerala on Sunday, January 26, 2020. © AFP / FRANCE 24

People in the Indian state of Kerala formed a human chain Sunday that, according to organisers, stretched for 620 kilometres (385 miles) and included as many as seven million people in the latest act of protest against a controversial citizenship law.

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The protest coincided with India’s Republic Day, a celebration of the anniversary of India's adoption of its constitution in 1950.

Demonstrators in Kerala, a state in India’s south, read from the constitution’s preamble, which defines the country as a “secular democratic republic” and swore oaths to uphold it as part of the protest.

The Citizenship Amendment Act, spearheaded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Hindu nationalist party, aims to make it easier for refugees from neighbouring countries to gain Indian citizenship.

However, the act excludes Muslim refugees, leading detractors to claim it is discriminatory.

The act, which was passed by the government on December 12, has led to a number of large protests across India in recent weeks, with frequent clashes between demonstrators and police, leaving at least 25 dead.

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