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Wednesday, 01 August 2018 09:52

‘India strips 4 million people in Assam of citizenship’

India on Monday effectively stripped four million people in Assam of citizenship, sparking fears of mass deportations of Muslims from the north-eastern state.

The residents, mostly Muslims of Bangladeshi origin, were deemed ‘stateless’ as India published its draft list of citizens deemed to have entered the country before 1971, when millions fled Bangladesh's war of independence into the state.

Critics say it is the latest move by the right-wing government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bolster India's Hindu majority at the expense of minorities. India will hold a national election next year.

The Assam government has brought in 25,000 extra security force members from outside the state in case of trouble. News of the draft register sparked opposition protests in the national parliament, forcing the adjournment of upper-chamber hearings for the day.

Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won control of Assam in 2016 after promising to expel illegal immigrants from mainly Muslim Bangladesh and protect the rights of indigenous groups.

Assam, where one third of the population is Muslim, is the only Indian state to compile a register of citizens.

Darul Ihsan Media Desk

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