India's Modi defends citizenship law

Tim O'Donnell

Amid nationwide protests, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is refusing to give way.

Modi on Sunday defended his Hindu nationalist government's recently passed citizenship law that has sparked protests across the country as nothing less than a humanitarian gesture. The law allows illegal immigrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh to claim Indian citizenship if they can show they were victims of religious persecution. But it only extends to non-Muslims and has been criticized for breaching India's secular constitution and for attempting to marginalize Muslims.

Speaking at a political rally in New Delhi, Modi said he "must assure Muslim citizens of India that this law will not change anything for them" and that his government operates without religious bias. "People who are trying to spread lies and fear, look at my work," he said.

To date, 23 people have reportedly been killed during the nationwide protests, which continued Sunday. Read more at Al Jazeera and BBC.

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