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Singapore books Indian national for protesting against Citizenship Amendment Act

The 32-year-old Indian man was allegedly protesting without a permit, which is a criminal offence in Singapore.

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New Delhi: An Indian national has been booked by the Singapore police for allegedly participating in a public protest against the recently passed Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), according to Reuters.

It is illegal and a criminal offence to participate in a public assembly without permit in Singapore.

Why was the Indian National booked?

Singapore police received a report on 24 December regarding a 32-year-old Indian male participating in a “public assembly without police permit” at the Marina Bay waterfront, which is the country’s financial and tourist district, the Reuters report said.

According to TODAY, the man photographed himself with a placard outside the bay. The police found his post on social media and booked him for the “illegal” protest. His social media account has since been deactivated.

“He allegedly carried out the activity in Marina Bay, to show his opposition to India’s Citizenship Amendment Bill,” said the police in a statement released Wednesday. It did not give any more details of the alleged “public assembly”.

The statement also said the police “will not grant any permit for assemblies that advocate political causes of other countries”.

“Foreigners visiting or living in Singapore should abide by our laws,” it added.

Protests are rare in Singapore

According to the Human Rights Watch, the government in Singapore “maintains strict restrictions on the right to peaceful assembly through the Public Order Act, requiring a police permit for any ’cause-related’ assembly if it is held in a public place, or in a private venue if members of the general public are invited”.

It added that the definition of what is considered a public assembly is extremely broad and “those who fail to obtain the required permits face criminal charges.”

Financial Times noted that these regulations are “typical of the carefully controlled political system in Singapore, where the ruling People’s Action party has won every election since independence in 1965 by a margin of 60 per cent or more”.

Additionally, the laws of sedition, libel and contempt are also used to severely restrict freedom of speech in the country. Thus, anti-establishment protests are very rare in Singapore.

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