India announces steps to implement a citizenship law that excludes Muslims

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NEW DELHI — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s authorities connected Monday announced rules to instrumentality a 2019 citizenship law that excludes Muslims, weeks earlier the Hindu nationalist leader seeks a 3rd word successful office.

The Citizenship Amendment Act provides a accelerated way to naturalization for Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Christians who fled to Hindu-majority India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan earlier Dec. 31, 2014. The rule excludes Muslims, who are a mostly successful each 3 nations.

The rule was approved by nan Indian Parliament successful 2019, but Modi’s authorities had held disconnected pinch its implementation aft deadly protests collapsed retired successful nan capital, New Delhi, and elsewhere. Scores were killed during days of clashes.

The nationwide protests successful 2019 drew group of each faiths who said nan rule undermines India’s instauration arsenic a secular nation. Muslims were peculiarly worried that nan authorities could usage nan law, mixed pinch a projected nationalist registry of citizens, to marginalize them.

The National Register of Citizens is portion of nan Modi government’s effort to place and weed retired group it claims came to India illegally. The registry has only been implemented successful nan northeastern authorities of Assam, and nan ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has promised to rotation retired a akin citizenship verification programme nationwide.

Modi’s authorities has defended nan 2019 citizenship rule arsenic a humanitarian gesture. It argues that nan rule is meant only to widen citizenship to belief minorities fleeing persecution and would not beryllium utilized against Indian citizens.

“These rules will now alteration minorities persecuted connected belief grounds successful Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to get citizenship successful our nation,” Home Minister Amit Shah wrote connected X.

India’s main guidance Congress statement questioned nan announcement, saying “the timing correct earlier nan elections is evidently designed to polarize nan elections.”

Human authorities watchdog Amnesty India in a statement called nan rule “discriminatory” and said it “goes against nan law values of equality and world quality authorities law.” It said nan rule “legitimizes favoritism based connected religion” and is “exclusionary successful its building and intent.”

India is location to 200 cardinal Muslims, who dress up a ample number group successful nan state of much than 1.4 cardinal people. They are scattered crossed almost each portion of India and person been targeted successful a bid of attacks that person taken spot since Modi first assumed powerfulness successful 2014.

Critics opportunity Modi’s conspicuous soundlessness complete anti-Muslim unit has emboldened immoderate of his astir utmost supporters and enabled much dislike reside against Muslims.

Modi has progressively mixed belief pinch authorities successful a look that has resonated profoundly pinch India’s mostly Hindu population. In January, he opened a Hindu temple astatine nan tract of a demolished mosque successful nan bluish metropolis of Ayodhya, fulfilling his party’s long-held Hindu nationalist pledge.

Most canvass surveys propose Modi will triumph a mostly successful a wide predetermination that is scheduled to beryllium held by May.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press