‘Dangerous For All’: International Media on Citizenship Law & NRC
Protesters march against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act in New Delhi.
Protesters march against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act in New Delhi.(Photo: AP)

‘Dangerous For All’: International Media on Citizenship Law & NRC

Amid looming protests in India and across the world over the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), top international media houses have expressed their opinions over the Act and the ongoing protests. The Washington Posts calls the ongoing protests a potential tipping point towards authoritarianism, and The Guardian calls citizenship law “dangerous for all”.

Here are some excerpts from opinion pieces published across top international media houses:

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1. The Guardian View On Modi’s Citizenship Law: Dangerous for All

Screenshot of The Guardian article on India’s CAA
Screenshot of The Guardian article on India’s CAA
(Photo: The Guardian)

The Guardian’s Editorial team focuses on the national reaction to CAA and writes that ”...Mr Modi’s Hindu nationalist project is not a containable anomaly, but an enterprise that threatens the nation’s very foundations of pluralism and secularism.”

“The prime minister’s claim that those setting fires “can be identified by their clothes” was read as a clear reference to Muslims. It is the rankest hypocrisy to accuse others of spreading violence, even if it were possible to set aside Mr Modi’s record as the former chief minister of Gujarat when around 2,000 Muslim men, women and children were murdered.”

2. India’s Protests Could Be a Tipping Point Against Authoritarianism

Screenshot of The Washington Post article
Screenshot of The Washington Post article
(Photo: The Washington Post)

The Washington Post article starts with a first person account from the writer, highlighting moments in a protest like : “A woman standing next to me searched Google for the preamble and started reading along.”

“The air of despondency in the country has been replaced by pockets of rebellion. The nationwide protests in the country have begun to cast doubt on Modi’s image as a leader who means development.”

3. Why India’s New Citizenship Law Has Sparked an Outcry – Even Among Those It Sought to Please

Screenshot from SCMP article
Screenshot from SCMP article
(Photo: South China Morning Post)

The SCMP article gives an overview of the ongoing protests, with a look-back at the history of immigration from Bangladesh. The author, who writes about the potential repercussions of the bill on the illegal immigrants already living in India, states that “while Bangladesh’s foreign minister has asked India for a list of illegal immigrants from his country and says Bangladesh will allow them to return, their future remains as bleak and uncertain as that of the Rohingya Muslims."

“It appears that the bill was rushed through without analysing the possible repercussions, with the intention of accommodating non-Muslims who had been declared illegal immigrants by the National Register for Citizens for Assam, published on August 31.”

4. Citizenship Act Protests: Hundreds Held Across India for Defying Ban

Screenshot of BBC article
Screenshot of BBC article
(Photo: BBC)

The BBC provided an overlook on the protests, with segments focusing on its background and reason. With support of pictures and graphics, the article portrays the essential elements of the entire protest and the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.

“The fears are compounded by the government’s plan to conduct a nationwide register of citizens to ensure that “each and every infiltrator is identified and expelled from India” by 2024. The National Register of Citizens (NRC) has already been carried out in the north-eastern state of Assam and saw 1.9 million people effectively made stateless.”

5. Modi Makes His Bigotry Even Clearer

Screenshot of NYT Opinion headline
Screenshot of NYT Opinion headline
(Photo: NYT)

The New York Times editorial analyses the CAA and the ongoing protests. The editorial board writes, “..the reaction to the citizenship law has apparently surprised Mr. Modi, who was re-elected by a comfortable margin last May, but he has shown no signs of backing down.”

“The not-so-hidden message is that the Muslim-majority countries abutting India persecute Hindus and other minorities, and that Muslims from such countries cannot be refugees — even people like the Rohyingya some of whom have reached India after fleeing to Bangladesh from brutal repression in Myanmar.”

6. I Argued That Narendra Modi Was India’s Best Hope for Economic Reform. Things Have Changed

Screenshot of TIME’s article.
Screenshot of TIME’s article.
(Photo Courtesy: TIME)

In TIME's editorial on 20 December, Ian Bremmer wrote that he used to argue Prime Minister Narendra Modi embodied India's best chance at much-needed economic reform, but the recent developments have changed his views.

“Make no mistake: from a humanitarian perspective, what’s happening right now in India is tragic, particularly for the country’s roughly 200 million Muslims,” he wrote.

He pointed out how the latest legislation – the Citizenship Amendment Act, (CAA) – and National Register of Citizens (NRC) are harmful for the country's democracy amid the current complex economic situation.

“India, and Modi in particular, had a window of opportunity to take the bold decisions needed to remake India’s economy competitive for the 21st century. They’re now closing that window, and India is poised to fall even further.”

7. India Is at Risk of Sliding Into a Second Emergency

Financial Times' editorial drew parallels between the 1975 Emergency and the current situation, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should reverse his position before it is too late.

Talking about the protests against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the piece read, “The demonstrations show that Indian citizens do care about secularism, despite the attempts of Mr Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party’s attempts to denigrate it. The citizenship law is only one manifestation of its Hindu nationalism.”

The piece further read, “The government itself should recognise that putting pressure on civil liberties undermines its claims to be the world’s largest democracy.”

The article concluded with the fact that in 1977, as Indira Gandhi faced defeat, 40 years later, PM Modi “should turn back from the path of illiberal democracy before it is too late.”

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