Meanwhile, in India, Islamophobia proceeds apace


While many in India have recoiled at the manner in which the Trump administration has made religious discrimination a key ingredient of its refugee and  immigration policy, we should also turn to look at similar legislative provisions being proposed in our own country.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill of 2016 is a short, three-page document that seeks to amend Section 2(b) of the Citizenship Act. The Citizenship Act deals with the acquisition and termination of Indian citizenship. Section 2(b) of the Citizenship Act defines the term “illegal immigrant”. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill proposes to amend the definition of this term by adding this proviso:

“Provided that persons belonging to minority communities, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who have been exempted by the Central Government by or under clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 or from the application of the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 or any order made thereunder, shall not be treated as illegal migrants for the purposes of this Act.”.

This effectively means that persons from minority religious communities from our neighbouring Muslim majority countries shall not be considered as illegal migrants and subjected to prosecution. Further, the Bill also proposes an amendment to the Third Schedule of the Act, which would allow minority communities, namely Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan to qualify for naturalisation as a citizen of India if they are resident in India or in service to the Government of India for an aggregate period of not less than six years, as opposed to eleven years for everyone else.

Read the full article here.

3 thoughts on “Meanwhile, in India, Islamophobia proceeds apace”

  1. India had started its ‘ islamophobia’ policies much earlier than Trump. The Assam elections and subsequent assumption of power by RSS dominated BJP started harassing refugees of Bangladesh a few months ago. With Trump decision, India’s Muslim hate has only gathered momentum. Before assuming mammoth proportions, this trend should be nipped in the bud by concerted action from secular activists


    1. While it is easy and correct to blame the BJP and the Modi government for increasing the harassment of Muslim refugees from Bangladesh in Assam, unfortunately, the secular congress was not much better. In fact, it was in the 1980s, that the congress began to play the Hindu majority card during elections on a regular basis. Assam was a major state where the congress under Mrs Gandhi played this card in a big way.
      We in Maharashtra have seen how the congress protected and encouraged the Shiv Sena for decades.
      In other words, in India, it is not easy or correct to isolate only the BJP as a party responsible for pandering to Hindu majority sentiments. Almost all secular parties have been guilty of it from time to time. That is what makes the fight against Hindu majoritarianism of the BJP so difficult in our country; makes it so difficult to have meaningful, long-term secular alliances against the BJP.
      There is another thing. While thousands of ordinary American citizens have been quick to organise and continuously protest against the Muslim ban by the Trump administration, in India, anti-Muslim sentiments have a much larger and aggressive support base and many of us have not been able to – for a variety of reasons – effectively mobilise large-scale and sustained political support against anti-Muslim policies.


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