By Arsalan Iftikhar

WASHINGTON D.C. - The government of Narendra Modi in India is preparing for an upcoming election year cycle by implementing a controversial “citizenship bill” which excludes adherents of the world’s second-largest religion.

According to CNN, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) would provide a fast-track to citizenship for immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan – provided they are not Muslim.

The controversial law would apply to religious minorities persecuted on religious grounds; including Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians (but not Muslims).

Originally passed by India’s parliament in 2019, the CAA had previously stripped Indian citizenship from at least 2 million Muslims in the state of Assam alone. Even though Prime Minister Modi- a right-wing Hindu nationalist- had praised the controversial law, the bill was heavily protested by his opposition parties, which claimed that it was unconstitutional and marginalized India’s 200-million-plus Muslim population.

In the year 2024 alone, there has been a rise of anti-Muslim activity which might electorally bolster right-wing Hindu nationalist hardliners during this year’s election cycle. In February 2024, two mosques were demolished in both Uttarakhand state and the capital New Delhi within days of each other. The ensuing clashes and curfews killed at least 6 people as religious polarization continues to metastasize across India.