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President of India gives assent to bill that fast-tracks citizenship to illegal immigrants from neighboring countries

President of India gives assent to bill that fast-tracks citizenship to illegal immigrants from neighboring countries
India’s President Nath Kovind has signed a new hotly debated bill giving fast-track citizenship to non-Muslims. Earlier, the legislation sparked protests in some parts of India and drew condemnation from the US.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) grants citizenship to all members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities that came to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan before December 31, 2014 fleeing from religious persecution.

It also states that refugees from these six groups should not be treated as illegal immigrants and charges brought against them over such status should be dropped.
The act further states that any further refugees from these communities willing to acquire Indian citizenship will be required to live in the country for five years instead of 11 as it was earlier.

New Delhi says the CAB is necessary to protect persecuted minorities, but it angered Muslims in northeastern state of Assam. People started protesting earlier this week burning copies of the legislation and later turning to tires and cars. After the Wednesday night outburst, which happened in defiance of a curfew, the government in New Delhi sent troops from other parts of India. The troops restored order in the state capital, Guwahati, but protests continued on Thursday in other places.

Also on rt.com Indian government sends troops to Assam after violent protests against citizenship bill (VIDEO)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also sought to ease tensions by explaining that it does not infringe upon the rights of Muslims living in India in any way.
 
It wasn’t just some parts of Indian society that were apparently angered by the bill, though. An American state-run religious freedom watchdog promptly jumped in to label the legislation discriminatory and threaten New Delhi with sanctions. India was swift to strike back as it called the US position “guided only by its prejudices and biases” as well as lacking real knowledge of the situation on the ground.

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