Amid protests across the nation against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday appealed for peace in the country.

In a series of tweets, PM Modi called the violent protests on the new citizenship law as “unfortunate and deeply distressing” and asked people not to let what he described as “vested interest groups” create a divide in society.

The Prime Minister’s call for harmony comes amid violent protests in various educational institutions across the country and the unrest in the northeast following the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill by the Parliament, which has now become an Act.

PM Modi, in his tweet, said that damage to public property and disturbance of normal life has never been a part of India’s ethos.

He further sought to assure the people of the country that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in no way affects any citizen of India of any religion. He added that the law is only for those who have faced years of persecution outside and have no other place to go except India.

Defending the Citizenship law, PM Modi said: “This Act illustrates India’s centuries-old culture of acceptance, harmony, compassion and brotherhood.”

He further appealed to the people of the country to work together for the development of India and the empowerment of every Indian, especially the poor, downtrodden and marginalised.

“We cannot allow vested interest groups to divide us and create disturbance,” he said.

“This is the time to maintain peace, unity and brotherhood,” he added while appealing to everyone to “stay away from any sort of rumour-mongering and falsehoods”.

The tweets come shortly after the opposition slammed the Government over the violence in Jamia Millia Islamia University.

Opposition leaders, including Ghulam Nabi Azad from the Congress, Sitaram Yechuri from the CPI (M) and D Raja of the CPI on Monday condemned Sunday’s “intrusion” by Delhi police into the Jamia Millia Islamia campus. Azad demanded a judicial enquiry into the incident and pointed at protests raging on in different parts of the country.

The CPI’s Sitaram Yechuri said the person who ordered the police intrusion into Jamia Millia campus must be identified and punished.

The opposition leaders have said they would intensify the anti-CAA movement across the country.

Sunday’s alleged intrusion by police into the Jamia campus in Delhi has snowballed into a major issue across the country.

Several other institutions including the Aligarh Muslim University, Hyderabad’s Moulana Azad National Urdu University, Banaras Hindu University and Nadwa College in Lucknow have expressed their solidarity with the students of Jamia.

Students from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Jadavpur University and IIT Mumbai have also come out in support of Jamia Millia Islamia students.