Turkey Hosts Roundtable Conference On India’s Citizenship Bill

Turkey hosted a roundtable discussion on India’s controversial citizenship bill. The discussion was organized by South Asia Strategic Research Center (GASAM) and saw Mehmet Ozay from Istanbul’s Ibn Haldun University and Nedim Cavdari, a researcher and Istanbul-based medical doctor, as speakers.

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“The constitution is being violated in India, and it is at the basis of the reactions [in the country],” said Ozay, speaking at the event. “There is demographic engineering there,” he added. India has been witnessing extensive protests against the law since it was cleared by the country’s Parliament and received presidential approval on Dec. 12.

It guarantees citizenship to non-Muslim religious minorities escaping persecution in three neighbouring countries — Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Analysts see the new citizenship bill as unconstitutional and discriminating against Muslims.

“The phenomenon of Islamophobia has been mutated” since the 9/11 attacks, Ozay said. “Perhaps today we are witnessing a process in which India is turning from a multicultural, multi-ethnic, secular structure based on its 1947 constitution…to an Islamophobia-dominant country.”

According to Ozay, there is a political understanding in India that discriminates against minorities. “The problem is not only a political and social development in Assam,” he said, referring to the citizenship verification project in the northeastern state.

“It is better to look at the question of ‘what is India trying to do?’ in the context of Islamophobia in the West and persecution and ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Myanmar,” he added. For his part, Cavdari pointed out that India’s secular structure has been changing.

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He described India’s citizenship law as “an act against Muslims” and said it was introduced to “clean up Muslim culture” from the country. “You can stay as a Muslim there, but you have to live Hindu culture socially,” he added.

Human rights watchdog Amnesty New Delhi has legitimized discrimination on the basis of religion and stood in clear violation of India’s Constitution and international human rights law. “Welcoming asylum seekers is a positive step, but in a secular country like India, slamming the door on persecuted Muslims and other communities merely for their faith reeks of fear-mongering and bigotry,” the group said in a statement.

Via: Anadolu Agency