Delhi police filed charges on Thursday against 15 protesters opposed to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) during the Hindu-Muslim riots. Police filed charges in a court in eastern New Delhi, and the filing is more than 17,000 pages long, said police spokesperson Anil Mittal.
Violence erupted in New Delhi back in February as a response to the passing of the CAA. The riots killed more than 50 people and also forced thousands to flee from their homes, a majority of them Muslim. Muslims make up India’s largest minority, accounting for 15 percent of the population.
The police charged a number of activists. There are others who have been arrested but have not been charged yet, including a prominent student leader.
Rights groups have criticized the arrests, saying the arrests are “politically motivated” and used to silence those who speak out against the government.
“By arbitrarily arresting outspoken activists, the government is not only attempting to silence dissent but also sending a message to supporters that they have free rein to commit abuses against minority communities,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of New York-based Human Rights Watch.