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HomeGeopolitical CompassSouth & Southeast Asia“Shoot the Traitors”: Discrimination against Muslims under India’s New Citizenship Policy

“Shoot the Traitors”: Discrimination against Muslims under India’s New Citizenship Policy

Author: Jayshree Bajoria

Affiliation: Human Rights Watch

Organization/Publisher: Human Rights Watch

Date/Place: April 9, 2020/ New York

Type of Literature: Report

Keywords: India, Communalism, Islamophobia, India’s Citizenship Amendment Act, Anti-Islam bias, Assam


The rising Hindutva nationalism in India, home to over 1.3 billion people of whom nearly 200 million are Muslims, seems to have finally blown the lid off the country’s Islamophobia. In yet another report by international organization Human Rights Watch (HRW), it details that anti-Muslim hate is now being institutionalized to disenfranchise the country’s largest minority community. In this detailed report, HRW begins with the latest anti-Muslim violence in the Indian capital Delhi where over 50 people were murdered, most of whom were Muslim. Property worth billions of dollars has been looted or destroyed. Intense anti-Muslim hatred was fueled well before launching the attacks against demonstrations planned and held by Muslims against India’s new discriminatory citizenship law. The new citizenship law, which excludes migrant Muslims from getting citizenship in the country, along with the government’s push for a nationwide citizenship “verification” process through a National Population Register (NPR) and a proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), aimed at identifying “illegal migrants,” led to massive protests as millions of Muslims fear that they will be disenfranchised and their rights will be taken away by arbitrary declarations that they are illegal migrants. India’s new laws are a complete violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other human rights treaties that India has ratified. HRW demands that India immediately retract from its inhuman and discriminatory laws and ensure equal rights for all its people irrespective of their race, color, religion or ethnicity. HRW additionally refuses to identify the Kashmir region as “disputed territory” between India and Pakistan, which terminology is mentioned by United Nations from time to time, after India revoked the Muslim-majority region’s constitutionally-protected autonomous status last August. Kashmir’s political future is yet to be decided as India continues to occupy the region with its massive one million troops deployed in the region.


By: Riyaz Ul Khaliq, CIGA Non-Resident Research Associate




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