India has taken another step towards being a Hindu state by introducing a controversial citizenship act. The legislation fits into the Hindutva agenda of the fascist Modi government to marginalise the 200 million Muslims in India
The bill seeks to provide citizenship to minorities from three countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan – who claim to be persecuted in their home countries. This includes Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, but conveniently leaves out Muslims. The move has caused uproar as the bill not only discriminates against Muslims but violates international human rights.
India is still officially a secular nation and Muslims form fifteen percent of the population. The Indian constitution has no provision to provide citizenship on the basis on religion. The bill is against the basic structure of the Indian constitution which grants equality and prohibits any discrimination based on religion. The new bill will encourage Hindus, particularly from Bangladesh, to immigrate to India diluting the local culture and rendering the Muslim population to an absolute minority.
Many states in northeast India have staged violent protests to counter the divisive strategy aimed at polarizing India. A similar scheme revoking citizenship of nearly two million undocumented immigrants was also imposed in the state of Assam, but the BJP rejected the outcome as a sizable portion of those left out were Hindus.
Adding insult to injury is the fact that the bill was introduced on World Human Rights Day which advocates equal dignity. Does the Indian government want to deny Muslims the basic right that all human beings are born free and equal? It is the responsibility of the state to provide right to life, liberty, and security of a person. This bill is against the basic premise of human rights and Muslims are now afraid of their future in Modi’s India.