New Delhi, December 23 (Business Insider) – A controversial amendment to a law was recently passed in India, sparking deadly protests around the country and leading some to question the country’s democratic values.
On December 11, India’s Parliament passed an amendment to its Citizenship Act of 1955, which sets out guidelines for becoming a citizen in the country. The 2019 revision added a religious element, providing a pathway to citizenship for Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian religious minorities who fled the neighboring majority-Muslim countries Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.
The amended act has been slammed by critics as anti-Islam, and they say it further marginalizes India’s sizable Muslim minority. Violent protests have erupted across the country in response, resulting in the deaths of six people. Dozens more have been arrested or injured in clashes with the police.
The fight reflects the country’s rising tide of bigotry directed toward minorities, particularly its Muslim population, which makes up about 14% of the country’s 1.3 billion people.
The law has also handed more power to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist government in crafting a country that affords more rights to its Hindu majority and leaves room for further discrimination in the areas of governance and public space.