INDIAN RIOTS

Governments should not favour religions

The trouble with a sectarian religious government is that it automatically discriminates against some citizens.

In Summary

• The Citizenship Amendment will give citizenship to non-Muslims from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan
• In August a new citizens register did not recognise two million mostly Muslim people in Assam

There was rioting yesterday in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Calcutta over a new Citizenship Amendment Bill that could grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

India has a Hindu nationalist government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party. The riots are a reaction to perceived Hindu supremacism.

In August two million inhabitants, mostly Muslim, of Assam were left off a citizens register because their families could not prove they came to India before 1971. They are furious that non-Muslims from neighbouring countries now have a potential route to citizenship.

 

They reject the argument that the Bill is protecting religious minorities because the Bill does not offer citizenship to Rohingyas in Myanmar or Ahmadis in Pakistan.

India has 200 million Muslims among its 1.3 billion population but the BJP government of Narendra Modi has been pushing an avowedly Hindu agenda since it came to power in 2014. 

The trouble with a sectarian religious government is that it automatically discriminates against some citizens.  That leads to disgruntlement and that is why Indians are now rioting against the BJP government. Governments should not favour one religion over another.

Quote of the day: "I belong to everybody, and I belong to nobody."

Muhammadu Buhari
The Nigerian president was born on December 17, 1942