Religion, Citizenship, and the State: Follow our Flowchart to See if You Qualify for Indian Citizenship

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), in a recent report, placed India alongside China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan as a “country of particular concern,” citing a sharp downward shift in religious tolerance due to state policies that infringe upon religious freedoms, especially of Muslims.  

In particular, the USCIRF listed the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019 and the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens exercise which critics say will disenfranchise millions of Indians. The CAA, 2019, which has been widely protested by both the opposition as well as the ruling party’s allies, was passed amidst accusations that the  government was furthering its Hindutva agenda by defining Indian citizenship on the basis of religion. Home Minister Amit Shah has infamously referred to Muslim migrants as “termites” while arguing in favour of the amendment, promising to “remove every infiltrator from the country.”

The 2019 amendment, while discriminatory on the basis of religion, is not the first time the central government has attempted to redefine Indian citizenship. Previous amendments to the Indian Citizenship Act, 1955 as well as other government notifications, have introduced provisions to more strictly distinguish between an Indian citizen and an illegal migrant.

Follow our flowchart below to check if you qualify for Indian citizenship today.

Curated by Kieran Lobo []

Designed by Gulal Salil []


This feature is based on Anupama Roy's article The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and the Aporia of Citizenship which questions the selective nature of identifying a persecuted minority and granting citizenship on the basis of religion, thus exacerbating the already strained relationship between citizen and state.

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