| 11 Dec 2019, 00:00 | Update : 11 Dec 2019, 23:43
Lawmakers in India enacted a fundamental change to its citizenship law to include religion as a criterion for nationality for the first time, deepening concerns that a country founded on secular ideals is becoming a Hindu state that treats Muslims as second-class citizens.
The new law creates a path to citizenship for migrants who belong to several South Asian religions but pointedly excludes Islam, the faith practiced by 200 million Indian citizens.
The measure was approved by a majority of the upper house of India’s parliament in a final vote late Wednesday. Its passage marks the latest political victory for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a strident nationalist in the mold of other right-leaning populist politicians around the globe.
Since winning a landslide reelection victory in May, Modi has moved swiftly to implement his party’s agenda of emphasizing Hindu primacy in India, a diverse democracy home to more than 1.3 billion people.
Hindu nationalist ideologues view India’s history as a series of humiliations — centuries of rule by Muslim kings followed by British colonialism — that must be redressed.
They despise the secularism embraced by India’s founders, who sought to create a country where all faiths were treated equally. And they accuse India’s previous leaders of pandering to religious minorities, especially Muslims, in search of votes.
Source: The Washington Post