The new citizenship law aimed at helping religious minorities that come to India from Muslim-majority states is in line with the ideas of Mahatma Gandhi and other independence heroes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.
“I repeat again, Citizenship Act is not to revoke anyone’s citizenship, but it is to give citizenship,” Modi said on Sunday at a rally at Belur Math Monastery in the state of West Bengal, bordering Bangladesh.
After independence, Mahatma Gandhi and other big leaders of that time all believed that India should give citizenship to persecuted religious minorities of Pakistan.
“Our government has only delivered on the wishes of our great freedom fighters who got us Independence. We’ve only done what Mahatma Gandhi had said decades ago,” Modi said. He once again stressed that people “are being misled” about the law.
The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which was adopted last year, makes it easier to obtain citizenship for people of six religious groups that have arrived from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, but does not do the same for Muslims.
The legislation sparked protests and was accused by the opposition and some celebrities of being discriminatory. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan earlier slammed India’s policy as anti-Muslim.
The Indian government has insisted that the law’s sole purpose is to protect disadvantaged minorities who come from Muslim-majority countries and is not detrimental to anyone else.
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