The Citizenship Act, which was signed into law by President Ramnath Kovind on Thursday, makes India’s “200 million Muslims feel as if somehow their religion is not as valid or Indian as the others”, Nobel laureate Venkatram “Venki” Ramakrishnan told The Quint.
The law seeks to naturalise non-Muslim undocumented migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
Ramakrishnan’s contention refutes Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s claim that the Act does not affect Muslims who are already Indian citizens.
The scientist noted that the Indian Constitution is notably progressive and secular, fostering an “enlightened, liberal democracy that is tolerant to everybody in the country”. However, the Citizenship Act runs contrary to the spirit and possibly even the letter of the Constitution, said Ramakrishnan.
By deliberately excluding followers of one religion from its purview and engaging in “communal squabbles”, the legislation undermines any attempt to make progress with education, technology, and general economic growth, he said.