India passes controversial citizenship bill


citizenship bill controversial India Hindu nationalists protests Muslim
11 Dec, 2019 8:54 pm

NEW DELHI (AFP) – India’s parliament Wednesday passed a contentious citizenship bill amid violent protests and claims that it discriminates against Muslims as part of the Hindu-nationalist government’s agenda.

The bill will let New Delhi grant citizenship to illegal immigrants who entered India from three neighbouring countries before 2015 – but not if they are Muslim.

The legislation was passed 125-105 by the upper house, after the lower house voted in support of it on Monday. It will be sent to the president to be signed into law, with his approval seen as a formality.

The bill sailed through the lower house with 311 votes in favour and 80 against shortly after midnight on Monday.

It was strongly condemned by Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Foreign Office on Tuesday. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom said it will propose sanctions against senior members of the Indian political leadership if the bill is enacted as law.

The citizenship bill also sparked protests in India’s northeastern states, where residents were unhappy about an influx of Hindus from neighbouring Bangladesh.


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