Source: Associated Press
By WASBIR HUSSAIN
GAUHATI, India (AP) — India’s lower house of Parliament approved a bill Tuesday that would grant residency and citizenship rights to non-Muslims who entered India illegally, allegedly after fleeing persecution in several neighboring nations, despite protests against the legislation in the populous northeast that brought the region to a near standstill.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh of the ruling Bharitiya Janata Party denied that the Citizenship Amendment bill which he introduced was discriminatory. It would grant rights to Hindus, Jains, Parsi and several other non-Muslim religious groups who migrated illegally from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The bill would provide an exemption to these groups from an Indian law which prohibits naturalization for illegal immigrants.
The initiative is the latest in a BJP campaign led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of general elections set to take place early this year promoting India as a sanctuary for persecuted Hindus globally.