A bill containing provisions on citizenship and residency rights has sparked protests in India’s northeastern Assam state after it passed the country’s lower house of parliament.
Proposals within the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill crafted by the ruling Bharatiya Janaka Party (BJP) extend residency and citizenship rights to undocumented immigrant Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Christian, Parsis and Buddhists who came to India from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan before the end of 2014. Provision for Muslim immigrants from those three countries is, however, conspicuously absent.
Some critics say the bill is reflexively anti-Muslim, and that the BJP is trying to shore up Hindu political support before elections due to go ahead in April or May. Meanwhile, Assamese groups are concerned that granting potentially millions of undocumented immigrants citizenship will have a negative impact on Assamese identity and political representation.
We’ll examine the citizenship proposals with our panel of experts and consider their impact, both in Assam and across the country.
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