As the Citizenship Amendment Bill was turned into legislation on Thursday, an Indian right-wing organisation, the Hindu Sena has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare the country a Hindu nation, just like Pakistan and Bangladesh exist as Muslim or Islamic countries.
While congratulating Prime Minister Modi over the new legislation, which allows persecuted minorities, especially Hindus, to become citizens in India, the Hindu Sena's letter reads:
"India should be declared a Hindu nation at the earliest by bringing a Bill in Parliament on the backgrounds of the division of Modern India in 1947 based on religion, by correcting the historical mistake made by the Congress and then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru."
Nehru has often been blamed for agreeing to the proposal to divide the country based on religion in 1947.
Opposition parties and neighbouring Pakistan often accuse the current Bharatiya Janata Party-run government of propagating the Hindutva ideology.
The letter also reads: "At the time of Partition in 1947, millions of Hindus and Sikhs were killed, tortured, raped and had to leave their ancestral property. Pakistan declared itself an Islamic country. Since India was partitioned on the basis of religion, India should have been declared a Hindu nation, but it maintained its status as a secular nation."
The concept of Hindutva or, the Hindu ideology is the predominant form of Hindu nationalism in India. The term is believed to have been formulated by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in 1923. It is championed by the Hindu nationalist volunteer organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and other Hindu groups like the Vishva Hindu Parishad, and the relatively newly formed Hindu Sena.
The Bill, amending the Citizenship Act of 1955, aims to make illegal migrants from Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jains, Parsi and Christian communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship. It requires that they should have entered India on or before 31 December 2014.
It, naturally, implies that migrants identifying themselves with any group or community apart from the ones stated above won't be eligible for citizenship. The Bill, now legislation, also relaxes the provisions for citizenship by naturalisation". It also reduces the duration of residency from the existing 11 to five years for people belonging to the six listed religions and three nations.