April 13, 2024

Brighton Journal

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Citizenship (Amendment) Act: India moves to implement a controversial bill that excludes Muslims

Citizenship (Amendment) Act: India moves to implement a controversial bill that excludes Muslims

Altaf Hussain/Reuters

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi looks on after speaking to the press in New Delhi on January 31, 2024.



CNN

India announced rules allowing it to implement a The controversial citizenship bill Which excludes Muslims.

India's Home Ministry announced the rules on Monday, ahead of India's general elections in the spring, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi will seek a rare third term in power.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act provides a fast track to citizenship for immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan – provided they are not Muslims. The controversial law applies to religious minorities persecuted on religious grounds, including Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians.

The bill, which was passed by the Indian Parliament in 2019, cannot come into force until the rules are notified.

Despite the approval of Modi, a Hindu nationalist, the bill was met with strong protest by opposition parties, who claimed it was unconstitutional and marginalized India's 200 million Muslim population.

Indian Home Minister Amit Shah praised Modi on Monday evening, saying he had “fulfilled yet another commitment and fulfilled the promise made by the framers of our Constitution to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians living in those countries.” mail On X.

Anwar Hazarika/Noor Photo via Getty Images

Members of the United Opposition Forum protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in Nagaon district, Assam, India, on March 8, 2024.

Critics of the bill say it is another example of how Modi and the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are pushing a Hindu nationalist agenda into secular India, a country of 1.3 billion people. Muslim expense population.

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The BJP has its roots in India's Hindu right-wing movement, many of whose followers see India as a Hindu nation.

Since Modi came to power nearly a decade ago, critics say the secular and democratic founding ethos of the world's largest democracy is crumbling at an alarming speed, with minorities feeling oppressed under the BJP's majoritarian politics and any criticism of the government facing censorship and punishment. .

It comes a month after the two mosques It was demolished In Uttarakhand and Delhi, within days of each other, leading to clashes and local curfews.

In January, Modi opened a huge Hindu temple on the site of a 16th-century mosque destroyed by Hindu militants more than 30 years ago. While many Hindus celebrated the opening Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir in AyodhyaThe inauguration was a painful reminder of the country's Muslim minority Religious divisions Which has become more evident under Modi.