India passes ‘communal’ bill to provide citizenship to Non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan

Amid protests both inside and outside the Indian Parliament, the Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019

With the new legislation the Indian government seeks to provide citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Muslims, often referred to as Bangladeshi, have not been included in the Bill.

Assam has been simmering over the past few days ever since Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi floated the proposal of the bringing the Citizenship Bill at a rally in the northeast state.

Home Minister of India, Rajnath Singh introduced the bill in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday and said that the new legislation aims to give Indian citizenship to all “persecuted religious minorities” from these three neighbouring countries like Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and Parsis.

“They have no place to go to, except India,” Singh said.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been facing widespread protests on the bill with ally Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) walking out of its pact with Assam over differences on the bill. Ally Shiv Sena and JD(U) have extended support to AGP on the issue.

Even as the bill was being introduced and passed in the Parliament on Tuesday, Assam witnessed an indefinite “economic blockade” to protest against the bill.

As many as 70 organisations, led by Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), have said that they would not allow locally produced oil, petroleum products, coal, forest products and limestone to be taken out of the state.


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