India citizenship law protests: Opposition holds rally


NEW DEHL:     The Indian National Congress, the country’s main opposition party is accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of silencing the voice of the people, as at least 25 people die in protests.
Their anger is growing against a controversial new citizenship law, which grants citizenship to religious minorities from three neighbouring countries but excludes Muslims. But Modi insists the law is not divisive.
Thousands of people demonstrated in the capital, the southern city of Chennai and elsewhere, adding to protests that have left more than 20 people dead. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, meanwhile, said it planned to hold hundreds of press conferences and rallies this week to persuade Indians that the new law won’t marginalize Muslims.
“There is no better country than India for Muslims,” BJP spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain said.
Government opponents say they fear the new Citizenship Amendment Act sets a precedent by excluding Muslims from a simplified path to citizenship available to migrants from six other major religious groups who come from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The government says Muslims are in the majority in the other countries and don’t need such protections.