18:27 GMT06 May 2021
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): A new Citizenship Law enacted by India’s federal government in early December 2019 has triggered widespread protests across the country. The Law grants Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities - Hindus, Parsis, Christians, Buddhists, Jains in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, barring Muslims.

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his cabinet and party colleagues have been blaming some opposition leaders for misleading minorities on the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA). The party had launched a nation-wide outreach programme to dispel misinformation on CAA.

    “Congress, especially Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi are misleading the minorities of the country. Nobody’s citizenship will be revoked under the Citizenship Amendment Act. It is an Act to give Citizenship,” Indian Home Minister Amit Shah said.

    Shah blamed the Congress Party for the riots that took place across the country during protests after the passage of the law.

    The Congress Party has opposed the Citizenship Law and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC). NRC is an exercise to identify illegal infiltrators living in India. Congress Working President Sonia Gandhi last month led an opposition delegation to the President of India seeking withdrawal of the Law. Congress leader P Chidambaram on Monday said the NRC was a “sinister and mischievous plan” to divide the country.

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has maintained that Citizenship Act "manifests India’s ethos of harmony and compassion", but the vested interest groups opposing the Act are now protesting against India’s Parliament. 

    India’s federal government enacted the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) on 12 December 2019. It grants Indian citizenship to persecuted Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Parsis from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, who entered India illegally before 1 January 2015, but doesn't extend the same rights to Muslims.

    Several opposition parties, students, and people from other walks of life have claimed that the law violates the constitution for being discriminatory against the Muslim community. The government and Prime Minister Modi have, however, mounted a campaign to dispel any misinformation about the law and insisted that it is not anti-Muslim.

    The Indian government has softened its stand the new law, but its implementation has already started and a total of 25 people have already lost their lives in protests across India. 



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