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New Law in India May Signal a Fundamental Change

Critics say citizenship legislation undermines nation's policy of secularism
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 12, 2019 8:16 AM CST
Smoke from burning tires is seen as protesters defy a curfew in Gauhati, India, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019.   (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
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(Newser) – A new citizenship bill is causing mass protests in India, and a big concern of critics is that India is on the path to abandoning its status as a secular nation because of the pro-Hindu policies put forward by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Coverage:

  • Controversial law: The Citizenship Amendment Bill, expected to be signed into law this week, provides a path to citizenship for immigrants living in the country—with the exception of Muslims, reports CNN. The legislation fast-tracks the process for those who came to India from three neighboring nations, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, as long as they are not Muslim.
  • The explanation: It's not discrimination, says Home Minister Amit Shah, reports Bloomberg. He says the legislation is designed to protect persecuted religious minorities, and Muslims are not minorities in those three nations. "There is a difference between infiltrators and refugees." Muslims make up about 14% of India's population of 1.3 billion.

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