India’s upper house of parliament passed a controversial citizenship bill on Wednesday to grant Indian citizenship to immigrants from three nearby countries but not if they’re Muslim.
The citizenship amendment bill applies to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsi and Christians who illegally entered the country from Afghanistan Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Critics say the bill is unconstitutional because it denies citizenship based on religion.
Harsh Mander and Indian human rights activists told CNN, “It amounts to truly destroying the very character of the Indian state in the Constitution.”
Supporters say the bill is designed to crackdown on illegal immigration.
In a tweet, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it was a landmark day for India and our nation’s ethos of compassion and brotherhood and that the bill will alleviate the suffering of many who faced persecution for years.
However, critics argued excludes Muslim minorities who face persecution in neighboring countries like the Rohingya from Myanmar.
They complained Modi is turning the country into a Hindu nationalist state.
Lawmakers approved the bill just a day after was passed in the lower house of parliament. The bill now has to be signed by the president for it to become law and he is expected to sign it.