Indian PM Modi defends citizenship bill amid huge outcry

Indian PM Modi defends citizenship bill amid huge outcry
Modi said Indian Muslims have nothing to worry. Source: AFP
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Daily US Times, Delhi: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi defended highly criticized citizenship law amid ongoing protest against it across the country.

At a rally in Delhi, Modi said ‘We passed this bill to help the persecuted. We need to respect India’s MPs and its parliament’.

Major protests broke out across India after the controversial law passed in the Indian parliament. More than 20 people died in ten days so far.

Protesters are divided too. So are protesting against the law because they don’t want any immigrant in their land, others opposed it because they see the law ‘anti-Muslim’ which is opposite to India’s value.

Police stand against the protesters, but they are struggling to control the pretests. Police are accused of showing brutality to the students. Lots of University students took to the streets, which increased the intensity of the protest.

Police detained several thousand people, and internet services have been suspended.

Today’s Delhi rally was a part of the state election campaign there.

Modi accused political parties of ‘telling a lie and spreading misinformation’ about the bill. He declined the criticism that the govt had never asked anyone’s religion when implementing major policies. He also assured Indian Muslims that they don’t need to worry. Every one in seven people is Muslim in India.

He also condemned attacks to the police and govt. properties.

What is the controversy about the law?

The law named as Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) offers amnesty to non-Muslim illegal immigrants from India’s neighbouring Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. As the law gives citizenship to the follower of other major religion except for Islam, critics fear it undermines India’s secular constitution.

India’s govt. is trying to convince people that only persecuted people, who have no other place than India to go will be granted India’s citizenship. But BJP govt’s this move has drawn criticism from opposition parties and international rights groups. BJP has the majority in both of the houses in the Indian parliament.

It is also controversial because it follows a government plan to publish a nationwide register of citizens that it says will identify illegal immigrants – namely, anyone who doesn’t have the documents to prove that their ancestors lived in India.

The law is also controversial because it follows a government plan to publish a nationwide list of citizens, those who don’t have the documents to prove that their ancestors lived in India will be identified as illegal immigrants.

A National Register of Citizens (NRC) only published in the north-eastern state of Assam and it created a huge mess their. The list made 1.9 million people effectively stateless. Many people are taken to detention camp.

The NRC and CAA are closely linked, but only the later will protect non-Muslims who are excluded from the register and face the threat of deportation or internment.

Why are people protesting against it?

The law has sparked a huge backlash among students from different university, teachers, intellectuals and general people.

The protestors main argument is this law is against India’s secular constitution. Many Muslims fear that they could be made stateless if they don’t have the necessary documents.

Indian PM and Home Minister said the law ‘no effect on citizens of India, including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Christians and Buddhists’.