India passes controversial citizenship bill that excludes Muslims
India’s parliament recently passed a bill that grants Indian citizenship to immigrants from three neighboring countries, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, with one exception: they can not be Muslim. The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) implements a program to fast-track citizenship for religious minorities such as Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, and Christians. The controversial bill has been criticized by opposition parties, who claim it is unconstitutional due to the fact that it bases citizenship on a person’s religion. Others argue that the bill will further marginalize and discriminate against India’s Muslim community, which consists of 200 million Muslims.
However, those who support the bill claim that it seeks to protect religious minorities who emigrated as a result of religious persecution in their home countries. On Wednesday, the bill passed through India’s upper house of parliament, the Rajya Sabha, with 125 votes in favor and 105 against. On Tuesday, lawmakers in the lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha, passed the bill with a vote of 311-80. The bill now awaits the President’s signature to become a law.