The Indian Citizenship Discussion: Legality, Rights, and National Identity

In December 2019, the Indian government enacted the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). This Act enables Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh and Parsi migrants who have entered India without a visa from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh to apply for Indian citizenship (subject to conditions). When the CAA was enacted, protests erupted all over India. Protestors had various reasons to object to the Act, including concerns about the secular nature of the Indian Constitution and concerns relating to regional identity. Additionally, many worried that the CAA, combined with the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) might be used as a tool for the marginalisation of the Indian Muslim population.

The CAA and NRC sparked fierce debates about the Indian Constitution, Indian national identity, human rights violations, and religious discrimination.

A year and a half later, we would like to keep the discussion around this important issue going.

Join us for a virtual panel discussion featuring:

Dr Adil Hasan Khan – University of Melbourne, Australia

Dr Adil Hasan Khan ( is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Melbourne Law School, where he conducts research on “the intersections between international law and disasters, with a focus on South Asia.” His expertise is primarily in critical international legal scholarship.

Prof Mohsin Alam Bhat – O.P. Jindal Global University, India

Prof Mohsin Alam Bhat ( is an Associate Professor and Executive-Director of the Center for Public Interest Law at the O.P. Jindal Global Law School. His research interests include “constitutional law and theory, equality and discrimination law, law and religion, and law and social movements.” He is also one of the founding members of Parichay, an Indian NGO which aims to “provide legal aid to those filing appeals against their exclusion from the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam” (

Dr Sahana Ghosh – Harvard University, USA

Dr Sahana Ghosh ( is a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard University Academy for International and Area Studies. She is “a social anthropologist whose research uses ethnographic and historical methods to study the intersections of gender, mobility, borders, and policing in contemporary South Asia.” Dr Ghosh is writing a book about the “friendly border” between India and Bangladesh, which “examines how “India” and “Bangladesh” become meaningful as national identities and economies at their shared border.”

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