Press TV, New Delhi
It’s been about a month since widespread protests erupted in the Indian subcontinent. Protesters say they are demonstrating for the future of their country which they believe is under threat from the Hindu nationalist government of BJP.
On December 12 India enacted a controversial citizenship law which eases the path for non-Muslim minorities from the neighboring countries to gain Indian citizenship. This has raised fears among country’s 200 million Muslims that the law is aimed at the community and can leave them stateless.
In addition to that experts say many poor Indians will face tough challenges proving their nationality as they do not have the required documents. The Indian government maintains the opposition is stoking misinformation about the controversial citizenship law.
However, the protesters stress that their campaign is a popular movement. They believe the ruling party is pursuing a larger political agenda by formulation of the citizenship law.
The ruling BJP maintains the law is not discriminatory instead it grants nationality to persecuted minorities from the neighboring countries. Critics have however questioned the Muslim exclusion stressing on government to formulate a clear refugee policy instead.
Since the demonstrations erupted in December scores of people mostly Muslims have lost their lives during fierce protests in several states of the country. Many believe the newly formulated act is vague and dangerous for the nation which was founded on a secular idea.
Muslims fear the new law may be misused to strip them of their citizenship. The ruling BJP however argues the law has nothing to do with the country’s Muslims but aims to help those fleeing religious persecution in the neighboring countries. Protesters nevertheless demand a rollback of the contentious law which they call unconstitutional.