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Saturday, May 18, 2024

India Implements Anti-Muslim Citizenship Law

The Indian government has implemented the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, criticized as anti-Muslim, ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's bid for a third term, sparking concerns over discrimination and political motivations.

The Indian government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has announced the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019, a law that grants Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from neighbouring countries.

The law, passed in 2019, allows citizenship for Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, and Christians who fled to India from mainly Muslim countries before December 31, 2014. The move has been criticized by rights groups as being discriminatory and anti-Muslim, raising concerns about India’s secular character.

Backlash and Protests

The implementation of the CAA comes amidst nationwide protests and sectarian violence that erupted after the law’s passage in December 2019.

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The protests, which saw significant violence in the capital, New Delhi, resulted in numerous casualties, predominantly among Muslims. Critics fear that the law, coupled with a proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), could target India’s Muslim community and strip them of citizenship based on documentation issues.

Denial and Defense

While the government denies allegations of discrimination, it maintains that the law aims to provide citizenship to persecuted minorities from Muslim-majority nations.

Officials argue that the CAA is not intended to revoke anyone’s citizenship and dismiss the protests as politically motivated. The government’s implementation of the law aligns with its election promises and its broader agenda of promoting Hindu nationalism.

Rising Concerns and Opposition

However, human rights groups warn of escalating Islamophobia in India under Modi’s leadership, citing increased attacks on Muslims and discriminatory policies. Critics argue that the CAA, along with the proposed NRC, could further marginalize India’s Muslim population and undermine the country’s secular values.

Opposition parties have accused the government of using the law for political gain ahead of the upcoming general elections, scheduled for April or May, where Modi seeks re-election for a third term.