India’s new citizenship law excludes Muslims. Why?

India has implemented a controversial citizenship law that has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims, a minority community whose concerns have heightened under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government.

The rules for the law were announced Monday. It establishes a religious test for migrants from every major South Asian faith other than Islam. Critics argue that the law is further evidence that Modi’s government is trying to reshape the country into a Hindu state and marginalise its 200 million Muslims.

The Citizenship Amendment Act provides a fast track to naturalisation for Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Christians who fled to Hindu-majority India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan before Dec 31, 2014. The law excludes Muslims, who are a majority in all three nations.

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