India grants asylum to neighbouring minorities - but not to Muslims 'who are not persecuted'

15 January 2020 - 11:20 By Busang Senne
India's Citizenship Amendment Bill excludes 200-million Muslims from special treatment when it comes to asylum in that country.
India's Citizenship Amendment Bill excludes 200-million Muslims from special treatment when it comes to asylum in that country.
Image: Mayank Makhija/NurPhoto via Getty Images

India’s parliament has passed a bill, the Citizenship Amendment Bill, that grants asylum to religious minorities in neighbouring countries Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan - but excludes the 200-million Muslims in those countries.

The controversial legislation ensures citizenship for persecuted religious groups, including Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsees and Christians.

CNN reports that the bill is being criticised by opposition parties and civil society members who argue that the new law actively discriminates against people according to their religion and perpetuates the cycle of Hindu nationalism and marginalisation of Muslims in the region.

According to CNN, India's home minister, Amit Shah, known for previous disparaging remarks about Muslim asylum seekers and immigrants, addressed parliament on Tuesday, saying Muslims “will not benefit from this amendment because they have not been persecuted on the basis of religion”.

Indigenous communities in the northeastern areas of India have also protested the bill because of the alleged threat fast-tracking citizenship for migrants poses to the ethnic and cultural identity of the area.


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