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Modi like Trump 'turning' undocumented immigrants into nationalist issue: NYT

By Our Representative
In a hard-hitting editorial titled "Modi makes his bigotry even clearer" in the wake of the new citizenship law, which "helps non-Muslim refugees from Muslim-majority countries but ignores Muslim refugees from other nations", "The New York Times" has said that it is "the first action" that links "religion to citizenship, undermining a fundamental tenet of India’s democracy."

The editorial underlines, "In common with other governments around the world that have turned undocumented immigrants into a nationalist issue, including President Trump’s", Home Minister Amit Shah "has taken to demonizing the primary target of the dragnets, Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, whom he refers to as 'termites'.”
It states, "India’s Muslims, about 14 percent of the population, have proclaimed in the eruption of protests across India after the law was passed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist BJP last week", adding, "The devil is in the missing details. Accelerated citizenship is offered to members of the Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Sikh, Parsee and Jain religions — but not to Muslims."
The editorial says, "The only neighboring countries named in the law are Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, all majority Muslim. Other neighbors, from Sri Lanka to China, where Muslims do not predominate, are not mentioned."
It believes, "The not-so-hidden message is that the Muslim-majority countries abutting India persecute Hindus and other minorities, and that Muslims from such countries cannot be refugees — even people like the Rohingya, some of whom have reached India after fleeing to Bangladesh from brutal repression in Myanmar."
In fact, according to the editorial, "The law, as India’s 200 million Muslims have correctly surmised, has nothing to do with helping migrants and everything to do with the campaign by Modi and his home minister to marginalize Muslims and turn India into a homeland for Hindus, who comprise about 80 percent of the population of 1.3 billion."
Recalling how last summer, Modi’s government "abruptly stripped statehood and autonomy from India’s only Muslim-majority state, Kashmir, arresting many of its leaders and shutting down the internet", the editorial says, "In August, Modi aggressively escalated a program of citizenship tests in the northeastern state of Assam, leaving nearly two million people, many of them Muslims, potentially stateless."
The editorial says, "Modi has vowed to extend the process, which requires Indians to prove they’re Indian, to the entire country and is building large new detention centers for those who can’t", adding, the citizenship law "has provoked furious protests across India, some of which have been viciously repressed by police and the army."
It further says, "The government has also shut down the internet in several regions, a tactic against dissent used by India more than any other authoritarian-leaning government in the world, claiming it is necessary to prevent violence and false rumours."
India’s Muslims, about 14 percent of the population, have proclaimed in the eruption of protests across India
Asserring that "the reaction to the citizenship law has apparently surprised Modi, who was re-elected by a comfortable margin last May, but he has shown no signs of backing down", the editorial says, "He rose to power by vilifying Muslims, a core tenet of Hindu nationalists."
The editorial underlines, "This is not the way India was meant to be. The vision of Mohandas Gandhi (who was murdered by a Hindu nationalist) and Jawaharlal Nehru after the partition of British-ruled India into a Muslim-majority Pakistan and a Hindu-majority India was to build the latter into a secular and democratic republic, with civil liberties for citizens of all faiths."
Pointing out how, since he took office in 2014, Modi "has actively worked to change that, even rewriting history books to exclude Muslim rulers — who, among other things, built the Taj Mahal — and changing official place names to Hindu from Muslim", the editorial notes how the "Hindu mobs that lynch Muslims are rarely punished."
The editorial supports the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights that called the citizenship law “fundamentally discriminatory,” stating, even the United States State Department has urged India to “protect the rights of its religious minorities in keeping with India’s Constitution and democratic values.”
It adds, however, "That would be far more credible if the Trump administration was treating undocumented immigrants in keeping with America’s democratic values."

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