Inside Story

Is Narendra Modi undermining secularism in India?

Indian prime minister has defended his controversial citizenship law as protests sweep the country.

The idea of a secular state where all religions are welcome and equal before the law is at the core of India‘s constitution.

But many believe the idea is under threat. Hindu nationalism has been emboldened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he was elected in 2014 and his government has taken measures that have raised fears among Muslims in particular.

A new citizenship law offers migrants of religious minorities from three neighbouring countries the right to become citizens of India, but it excludes Muslims. The passage of the law through India’s Parliament has sparked anger and protests nationwide.

But will that make Modi change his mind?

Presenter: Stan Grant


Desh Ratan Nigam – Member of the legal wing of the Hindu nationalist organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh

Tarun Khaitan – Professor in public law and legal theory at Wadham College, Oxford University

Eviane Leidig – Researcher at the Center for Research on Extremism at the University of Oslo