The Indian government has approved plans for a census and population survey, despite continued protests in states across the country over a controversial citizenship law.
The cabinet-approved National Population Register (NPR) has been criticised amid fears it may be used to target Muslims in the country, though the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claims the exercise will help to better formulate government policies.
Meanwhile, protests have continued in states across India, including in Delhi, despite Indian police imposing a law to prevent people from gathering in groups. Protests erupted after the Indian government passed a law allowing those who have entered India from certain neighbouring countries from obtaining citizenship, only if they are not Muslim. Eelam Tamils have also not been included in the current law.
At least 25 people have been killed in the unrest, as authorities have cracked down on protestors with Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), criticising the security forces “unnecessary deadly force”.
On Tuesday, Congress Party leaders also claimed that they had been turned away from visiting a town in Uttar Pradesh, where they were due to meet with the families of those killed in the protests. Senior Congress leaders including Sonia Gandhi, the current president of the party, former party head Rahul Gandhi and former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh were also seen at rally against the citizenship law in Delhi this week.
Hundreds of thousands of protestors have attended rallies from Delhi to Chennai.
The protests come as the BJP lost a key state election in Jharkhand this week, ending five years of rule in the state.