Indian PM Narendra Modi fails to defuse the tensions over the controversial Indian citizenship act
NEW DELHI – Indian PM Narendra Modi fails to defuse the tensions over the controversial Indian citizenship act.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi contradicted his closest lieutenant over plans for a nationwide register as he tried to defuse protests against a citizenship law in which at least 25 people have been killed so far.
Modi’s Hindu-nationalist government says the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which became law on Dec. 11, is needed to give persecuted non-Muslim minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who fled to India before 2015 a pathway to citizenship.
But many Indians feel the law discriminates against Muslims and violates India’s secular constitution by making religion a test for citizenship.
They say the law and a proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) could be used to reduce Muslims to second-class citizens.
Modi also said that there had been no discussion on creating the nationwide register of citizens - directly contradicting key ally Home (Interior) Minister Amit Shah.
But speaking in parliament last month, Shah told lawmakers unequivocally that the government would introduce a nationwide register.
In April, he laid out the chronology for the process, telling reporters: “First, there will be a Citizenship Amendment Bill ... after that, there will an NRC.”