India’s ruling government recently passsed a new citizenship law which allows people of six religions from Muslim-majority Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afhanistan an easier route of becoming an Indian citizen. Muslims are excluded, however, from this new citizenship law.
This has prompted waves of protests and demonstrations across India. Thus far, 25 people have died in protests against the new law. Islamic groups and the opposition are concerned that this law is part of the government’s aim to remould India as a Hindu nation. However, this is a claim that the ruling government denies.
The ruling party’s latest move has been to launch a video with animated Muslim characters on social media to bust myths about this new citizenship law. The video attempts to assuage the nation’s 200 million Muslims that they have nothing to be worried about and that they will not be made stateless.
Read the full article on Channel News Asia: India bids to bust citizenship law ‘myths’ with cartoon video
The cartoon and related advertisement explain that there are no immediate plans to roll out a nationwide register of citizens. Such a register or census has left Indian Muslims fearful that they would be afraid to prove that they are Indian, thus becoming stateless.
Subsequent publicity materials have failed to assuage the fears of the Indian Muslims as it merely states that even if a national register were to be carried out, no Indian citizens would face any harassment. What about those who are unable to prove their Indian citizenship then?
The protests have been deadly across various states in India as the Muslim community has felt threatened by the new law. While the new law does not explicitly affect the Muslims who are currently living in India, there is a perception that there are larger pro-Hindu sentiments at play. Can the ruling government do anything to sufficiently reassure the Muslim community?
Questions for further personal evaluation:
- While the ruling government has emphasised the importance of India’s diversity, their actions have alienated a particular segment of the population. How does Singapore strive for all segments of the population to feel included and not alienated?
- What do you think of the government releasing a social media carton to address concerns about the new citizenship law? Do you find this effective? Can you think of any alternatives?
- ‘blitz’: a sudden concerted effort to deal with something
- ‘census’: an official count or survey, especially of a population