WEST RIDGE — A coalition of Chicago’s South Asian community will gather Sunday to protest India’s controversial new citizenship law that is seen as a crackdown on the country’s Muslim residents.
Protests have roiled India after its Hindu-majority government passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill that allows for the fast-tracking of citizen status for a number of religious minorities, but not for Muslims. The measure is seen as a way to further marginalize India’s 200 million Muslims, with some warning that the measure is a slippery slope to atrocities based on religion.
This weekend, Indian Americans across the United States will gather to protest the measure and stand in solidarity with India’s Muslim population. A local protest will take place at noon on Sunday on West Ridge’s Devon Avenue.
The citizenship bill has lead to a fracturing of the Indian population of Chicago and other U.S. cities, with some immigrants supporting the measure and others vehemently opposed to it. Sunday’s rally will seek to show a united front against the discriminatory citizenship measure, supporters of the protest said.
The persecution of Indian Muslims is not unlike the situation in the United States, where travel bans have targeted majority-Muslim countries and where some have called for severe limitations on immigration, said Sameena Mustafa, an organizer of Sunday’s march.
“We’re seeing a connection between the fascist movement happening in India and what is happening in the U.S.” Mustafa said. “There’s unfortunate parallels. It’s really terrifying.”
Chicago South Asians Against Hindu Fascism was formed in the wake of India’s new citizenship law. The group seeks to bring together like minded organizations to show a united front against the bill seen as discrimination against Muslims. The group hosted a protest action Downtown in late December.
“The idea is to show solidarity,” Mustafa said. “This is a coalition of grassroots groups that say, ‘We’re going to fight this and stop the proliferation of this movement.”
Sunday’s event will start at noon at the corner of Devon and California before the group marches eastward on Devon. For more information on the event, click here.
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