İrem UZUN -TDO- India's Supreme Court has postponed hearing pleas challenging the constitutionality of a new citizenship law that critics say violates the country's secular constitution and has sparked massive protests.Among the pleas the top court turned down was a petition seeking to stop the implementation of the new law, which lawyers said was based on religion. The court on Wednesday asked the federal government to respond to a batch of petitions challenging the amendment to a 1955 citizenship law and said it will hear the case on January 22.
The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) makes it easier for non-Muslims from the neighboring countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who settled in India prior to 2015 to gain Indian citizenship. Thousands of people have protested, saying the law is anti-Muslim and the latest in a series of measures by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government to marginalize the community. Modi's government says the law was intended to address the persecution of minorities such as Hindus, Sikhs and Christians in the Muslim-majority countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. However, protesters say the exclusion of Muslims shows a deep-seated bias against the community, which makes up 14 percent of India's population, the third largest Muslim population in the world.