Elections in India as Discriminatory Laws Passed


ICNA CSJ

Date published: Thu, 21 March 24


As Indian elections loom, Modi’s government passed a new discriminatory law that violates the rights of Muslims. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government began implementing the Citizenship Amendment Act, which the Indian parliament had initially launched in 2019. The law expedites citizenship requests from non-Muslims fleeing religious persecution from India’s neighbors – Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, but excludes Muslim refugees. 

The BJP has further elaborated on plans for a proposed nationwide citizenship verification process, that would identify all types of immigrants. In 2019, the Indian state of Assam after CAA law was implemented, designated over a million Muslims in Assam as foreigners and stateless. The Muslims in Assam include those who belong to tribal indigenous communities and ethnic/minority communities. 

The far-right Hindu government regularly evokes tropes of foreigners and invaders on Muslims, attempting to make it seem as if Indian Muslims do not have a right in the country. After protests all over India after the initial launching of the bill in 2019, the Modi government did not implement the law. That has changed now, with the government fully implementing the CAA.

The United Nations commission has expressed concern over the law, calling it “a breach of India’s international human rights obligations.” They said, “As we said in 2019, we are concerned that India’s Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 (CAA) is fundamentally discriminatory in nature and in breach of India’s international human rights obligations.” 

This law is the first time that India has set religious criteria legally for citizenship. The implementation of the law has been one of Modi’s larger campaign promises, which can be seen as a means to secure the upcoming election results for a BJP win.

Muslims and other activist groups have explained that the law is extremely discriminatory, and that it will lead to further marginalization and dehumanization of Muslims in India. Muslims in India have been lynched by Hindu mobs, their businesses boycotted, mosques bulldozed, and other places of worship set on fire.  Modi’s silence on this violence against Muslims is not unnoticed by his millions of followers. It can be seen as an endorsement of the violence against Muslims.