- Indian Prime Narendra Modi met with fellow nationalist leader, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and watched the Republic Day military parade.
- On the other hand, nationwide protests against citizenship amendment law continued.
- The internet was partially restored in Indian-administered Kashmir, following a Supreme Court ruling.
Indians celebrated Republic Day “with a grand display of military prowess, vibrant cultural diversity and socio-economic progress” on Sunday. Thousands of military personnel and spectators gathered for the annual military parade, and to greet President Ram Nath Kovind in New Delhi. India also demonstrated its military strength with missiles, tanks, rifle jets, Chinook and Apache helicopters. Apart from this, the parade also featured traditional dances from Indian areas, attended by hundreds of men, women, and children.
Indian Prime Narendra Modi met with fellow nationalist leader, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and watched the Republic Day military parade. The two signed several agreements yesterday on investment in the defense sector, along with oil and gas, expressing their commitment to strengthen bilateral trade relations. Last year, Brazil complained to the World Trade Organization about subsidizing sugar exports from India, saying it would hurt competitiveness in the global market. India is second to Brazil in sugarcane cultivation worldwide.
Indians also held a rally against the right-wing leader and former military captain, Bolsonaro, on Friday in the coastal city of Mumbai. Protesters criticized Bolsonaro’s stance on climate change, and raised questions about “sexist” statements he made against female politicians.
Countrywide Protests Against the Citizenship Amendment Act
The celebrations of the Republic Day in Delhi continued on Sunday, as well as protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act and the NRC. According to reports, demonstrations are also being held in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Kolkata, and Mumbai under the theme “Save the Constitution.” It is said that a human chain 620 km long will also be built in South Kerala.
The new law, passed by the Indian government, allows for citizenship for illegal immigrants coming from three neighboring countries— Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Muslims, however, are not included in the law. According to critics, this is contrary to the secular ideology of the Indian Constitution.
Strict Security Arrangements on Republic Day
Republic Day in India was started in 1950, after the implementation of the new Constitution. On this occasion, strict security arrangements were made in the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir, as well as other states. There have also been reports of five grenade blasts in the northeastern states of India. According to police, no casualties were reported in the incident, and it is suspected that militant groups may be involved.
Internet Partially Restored in Indian-administered Kashmir
Internet service in the region was suspended by the New Delhi government in August last year, along with the elimination of the special administrative status of India’s management of Kashmir. Now, almost five months later, the Internet service is partially restored. The Home Department of Jammu and Kashmir stated that users will have access to 301 government-approved websites. Apart from this, data service on smartphones is also being restored, which means that locals will be able to go online with their phones. The ban on social media websites is still intact.
Earlier this month, the Indian Supreme Court had declared New Delhi’s move to ban the internet as “impermissible,” and “an abuse of power.” The Supreme Court also said that free access to the Internet is one of the fundamental rights of free speech and cannot be suspended indefinitely. It has been the Indian government’s stand that this step has been taken with security in mind.
The statement issued by the Jammu and Kashmir Home Department on Friday night has informed that internet speed will be kept slow. The personal communication social media websites are currently closed, though this decision is pending review.