Indian government pushing immigration law that singles out Muslims




Indian government pushing immigration law that singles out Muslims
Indian government pushing immigration law that singles out Muslims  

New Delhi - India's Hindu nationalist government is seeking changes in the country's citizenship laws that critics call unconstitutional and anti-Muslim. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government on Monday introduced the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which would extend citizenship rights to only non-Muslim illegal immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

The government says the new law will give refuge and rights to people fleeing religious persecution in the three neighboring countries. But critics have railed against the legislation as unconstitutional for singling out Muslims, precluding them from having the same rights as people of other religions.

President Trump listens to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a rally on September 22, 2019, at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. Getty

Existing Indian law does not allow illegal immigrants to become Indian citizens. The new bill seeks to change that for refugees from the three countries in question, provided they adhere to one of six religions other than Islam.

India's secular constitution, which was partly adopted from the U.S. Constitution, guarantees everyone equal rights regardless of their religion.

During a heated discussion in parliament on Monday, opposition leaders said the bill proposed by the government violated the fundamental right of equality in the constitution.

"What we are objecting to is precisely what they intend," said leader of the Indian National Congress, Shashi Tharoor. "It's not as if they don't know what they're doing."

A thousand Indian scientists have signed a strong statement deploring the Citizenship Amendment Bill: https://t.co/QlJgufn9to. But will this bigoted Government listen? What we are objecting to is precisely what they intend. It's not as if they don't know what they're doing.

- Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) December 9, 2019

India's Home Minister, Amit Shah, argued that the bill is "not even 0.001% against India's minorities," and senior leader of Modi's ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), Ram Madhav, insisted it, "is not about excluding anybody; it is about INCLUDING refugees from Pak-Af n B'desh, victims of religious persecution or fear of it."

Critics say the legislation is really aimed at driving out or detaining hundreds of thousands of Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh who have lived in northeast Indian states for decades. It would also likely impact Rohingya Muslims who have poured into India from Myanmar in more recent years. While the Rohingya people have lived in Myanmar for generations, that country's government often refers to them as Bangladeshi immigrants. India's government has asked the country's Supreme Court for permission to deport them.

Politician and activist Yogendra Yadav said the proposed legislation was "against the very idea of India."

Several people were arrested at protests that sprung up against the bill in Delhi and other cities. In the northeast state of Assam, student groups have threatened to stage major, disruptive protests if the bill is passed.

Assam: People stage protest against #CitizenshipAmendmentBill2019 in Golaghat. pic.twitter.com/y4J76IU5it

- ANI (@ANI) December 9, 2019

Parties loyal to the government have a majority the lower house of India's parliament, and while it may face some hiccups in the upper house where the numbers are much closer, the bill is likely to become law.

If the government does manage to get the legislation through both houses of parliament, it will likely be challenged in the country's Supreme Court, which does have the power to strike down legislation deemed unconstitutional.

"Pincer movement against India's Muslims"

The Modi government has also promised to extend a citizenship registration scheme across the whole country. In Assam, the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was recently rolled out, which requires all state residents to show proof of family residency going back decades. The process in Assam alone excluded about 1.9 million people, mostly Muslims, who under the proposed legislation would face possible detention.

India's detention centers for illegal immigrants in Assam, which critics say are similar in many ways to the infamous detention centers for Uighur Muslims in China, have drawn scrutiny recently.

Critics see both the citizenship bill and the vow to extend the NRC nationwide as part of a wider plan by Modi's government to marginalize Muslims.

"Together, the NRC and the CAB constitute a pincer movement against India's Muslims," lawyer and commentator Gautam Bhatia wrote in the Indian Express. "Their combined effect is to deny to Muslims equal moral membership in the polity. In the history of the 20th century, such legally-sanctioned regimes of discrimination have been seen before: In fascist states, the epitomes of morally and ethically bankrupt regimes."

Report on origins of Russia investigation released by Justice Department inspector general

Day 7, Part 7: Democrats question witnesses on evidence in impeachment inquiry

Day 7, Part 6: Stephen Castor presents Republicans' report on impeachment inquiry

COMMENTS

More Related News

India Made a Big Mistake: Buying an Aircraft Carrier from Russia
India Made a Big Mistake: Buying an Aircraft Carrier from Russia

Key Point: What could go wrong? Well, everything.

UK to introduce tougher jail terms for convicted terrorists after London Bridge attack
UK to introduce tougher jail terms for convicted terrorists after London Bridge attack

Britain will introduce tougher jail sentences for convicted terrorists and will end early release as part of a series of measures to strengthen its response to terrorism, the government said on Tuesday. Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to make changes after an attack near London Bridge in November in which Usman Khan, a convicted terrorist who had been released early from prison, killed two people. Khan had been sentenced to a minimum of eight years in prison in 2012 with a requirement that the parole board assess his danger to the public before release.

'A Defining Moment.' An Indian State's Decision to Challenge the Country's Controversial Citizenship Law Signals a Growing Divide

Kerala's lawsuit argues that the Citizenship Amendment Act is "discriminatory" and runs counter to the Indian constitution's secular principles.

Indian Christians protest against
Indian Christians protest against 'anti-Muslim' law

More than 8,000 people from the Christian community took to the streets in eastern India Monday to protest against a citizenship law that critics say discriminates against Muslims. Hindu-majority India has been gripped by widespread street demonstrations that have sometimes turned deadly, with the march in West Bengal state's capital Kolkata believed to be one of the biggest rallies by Christians. Carrying banners calling for the citizenship law and proposed nationwide "register of citizens" to be ditched, the demonstrators marched for several kilometres (miles) from a church to a life-sized statue of Indian independence hero Mahatma Gandhi.

Dozens wounded as Iraqi protesters up pressure on government
Dozens wounded as Iraqi protesters up pressure on government
  • World
  • 2020-01-19 19:50:41Z

Iraqi security forces wounded dozens of protesters on Sunday as renewed anti-government demonstrations gripped the capital and Iraq's south, activists and officials said. The mass protests had lost steam when soaring U.S.-Iran tensions threatened an open conflict on Iraqi soil in past weeks. As the regional crisis receded, Iraqi activists gave the government a week's deadline to act on their demands for sweeping political reforms or said they would up the pressure with new demonstrations.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Soccer