never happened until Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist
Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) assumed federal power in 2014 and two years
later secured the Assam state assembly and resurrected the citizenship
Narendra Modi's critics see the citizenship test as a means of ridding the state of its Muslims Credit: Alexei Nikolsky/TASS
The subsequent verification process to determine citizenship that
began recently, however, was ambiguous, as a large number of Assamese,
like in other parts of India, are illiterate and posses few if any
documents proving their identity or resident status.
Many of those declared stateless were women who were born in Assam,
got married there and raised families, but still had no documentation to
support their claims as they believed they did not require them.
Critics see the citizenship test as a means of ridding the state of
its Muslims who are reportedly the largest affected ethnic group to be
Some commentators claim that by targeting Muslims, the BJP aims to
unite Hindus to vote for it in the upcoming general elections in early
The BJP has also reiterated that illegal Muslim migrants would be deported to Bangladesh.
But Bangladesh, burdened by the Rohingya refugee crisis, has
indicated no willingness to accept a new lot of expatriates, increasing
the possibility of India creating the latest lot of stateless people
with nowhere to go.