Protests Erupt in India Over Controversial Citizenship Bill

34 178
Published on 10 Dec 2019, 17:34
Protests broke out across northeastern India, Tuesday, December 10, after a controversial bill critics say is anti-Muslim passed in the lower house of Parliament.
READ MORE: India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party introduced a controversial bill in Parliament Monday seeking to grant citizenship to non-Muslim illegal immigrants from neighboring countries, introducing religion as a criterion for nationality for the first time.

Opponents have slammed the proposed legislation as anti-Muslim and divisive, and they have called it a ploy by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party to weaken the secular foundations of India’s democracy.

The bill will make six religious groups — Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Parsis and Buddhists — who came to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan before December 31st, 2014, eligible for Indian citizenship. The government says it is intended to give sanctuary to minorities who fled religious persecution in these countries.

Critics, however, have questioned why the proposed legislation has excluded Muslim minorities, such as the Rohingyas in Myanmar, if it was meant to protect those facing religious persecution.