India’s ruling party, Bharatiya Janata (BJP), moved forward with its plan to change India from a secular democracy to a religious Hindu nation.
The government’s cabinet has voted approval of a bill that specifically excludes Muslims.  The bill, if passed by parliament, would amend the country’s Citizenship Act of 1955 to allow non-Muslims from neighboring Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh to apply for Indian citizenship.
The proposal has generated heated controversy within India.  Those against it say the imposition of religious criteria for citizenship violates the country’s constitution.  As a noted Indian political scientist commented, the proposed bill would “push India towards an Israeli model of ethnic democracy, in which the members of the majority group have institutional pre-eminence over minorities.”
The contentious proposal comes just months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his political party won re-election by a wide margin. BJP has made it clear in the past that it wants the country’s Hindu majority to have special status.

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