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India protests: Has Narendra Modi has gone too far with citizenship bill?


The Prime Minister, whose Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was re-elected in a landslide victory earlier this year, has dominated Indian politics since first sweeping to power in 2014. While he has been hailed for his efforts to bring prosperity to poorer regions and root out corruption, his emphasis on empowering India’s Hindu majority has raised concerns among its Muslim minority.
To Modi’s critics, the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) — which fast-tracks applications for immigrants, including Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who arrived in India before 2015 — has become the most brazen example of a Hindu nationalist agenda aimed at marginalizing Indian Muslims. Opponents say it is part of an effort to tear at the fabric of India’s secular identity.
Since the law passed through both houses of Parliament last week, demonstrations have swept university campuses in at least nine states. Protesters have taken to the streets across Assam and Tripura over fears that large numbers of Hindus, who migrated to the region in the past few decades, will now be able to get their citizenship fast-tracked. Many there fear it will dramatically recast the religious and ethnic makeup of the northeastern states — home to 200 distinct indigenous groups.

“In the north, they believe the bill has gone too far and the amnesty will allow too much immigration,” Milan Vaishnav, director and senior fellow of the South Asia Program in the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,…



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