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India: Protesters Slam Citizenship Bill for Creating 'Hindu-Muslim Divide'

Protesters symbolically burned a copy of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in a demonstration against the controversial bill in New Delhi on Wednesday.

The protests took place near the headquarters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the party of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The controversial bill, which has been already approved in the Indian parliament, seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim illegal immigrants, such as Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains and Buddhists from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Member of the Legislative Assembly and the opposition Indian National Congress Party, Kiran Walia called the measure a “farcical claim” saying that it has been done to draw attention away from other issues in India, namely “the total breakdown of the machinery [and] the total breakdown of the economy.”

These sentiments were shared by political analyst and social activist Tehseen Poonawalla, who said “The fact of this bill is that the present government wants to do a Hindu-Muslim divide. Why does it want to do a Hindu-Muslim divide? It wants to do a Hindu-Muslim divide because it has failed on the economy, it has failed on refunding money to states, it has failed on every aspect a $5 trillion (€4.49 trillion) promise so it wants to divert issues.

But we will not let them divert issues.” Critics say that the bill could cause further ostracization of the some 200 million Muslims living in India.

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