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Leftists take to the streets in latest demonstration against Indian citizenship test law


Leftists take to the streets in latest demonstration against Indian citizenship test law

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Photo: Sanket Wankhade/HT

Thousands of leftist demonstrations are expected to take place in at least a dozen cities throughout India to protest the Citizenship Amendment Act.

The legislation creates a new citizenship test for those who have migrated to India from neighbouring countries. Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and other religious groups are permitted to take the test but the legal text purposefully bars Muslims from qualifying.

Passed last week, the law has catalysed a series of student demonstrations on university campuses around the country and sparked a national debate over Muslim legal representation and the country’s secular identity. Critics of the law believe that it illegally discriminates against India’s Muslim minority.

There are likely to be two key outcomes to the Act. The first is that non-citizen Muslims in India who fail to pass the citizenship test could become stateless. This could lead to a refugee and migration crisis in the region.

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The second likely outcome is that some violence will continue throughout India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has argued that the law protects religious minorities like Sikhs and Jains as well as controls immigration, is unlikely to amend the law. Modi had deployed the Indian army and heavy artillery to stop protests that happened earlier in the week and has made clear he will not back down.

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