Protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) continues across India as the country welcomed New Year Yesterday.
Activists and students in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, challenged the government by marching and reading out India's Constitution in the cold evening.
The new law passed by the BJP government provides citizenship for Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Christian and Parsi refugees from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. However, the law intentionally omits Muslims from the illegal immigrants list.
Since the bill was passed in December, several protests have erupted across the nation.
In major cities like New Delhi, Hyderabad and Lucknow, many protesters have been injured and killed because of the violent response from authorities.
Many claim that religious intolerance and persecution against religious minorities in the country has soared after the BJP government came to power in 2014.
Incidents of violence against Christians in the country has more than doubled under the pro-Hindu government.
According to the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI), there were 147 incidents of violence documented against Christians in 2014. Within four years of BJP rule, the number of incidents went up to 315 in 2018.
Looking at the increasing violence in the name of religion, as many claim, it can only be hoped that 2020 will be a better year for religious minorities in the country.
Minorities hope the BJP government can quit the Hindu nationalist agenda and allow citizens to freely practice the faith of their choice.