India's cabinet Wednesday cleared the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) aiming at granting citizenship to illegal immigrants belonging to six religions from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, officials said.
The bill would grant citizenship to illegal immigrants belonging to Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainsim, Parsi and Christianity from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, but would keep out Muslims from applying for the citizenship.
"Citizenship Amendment Bill has been cleared by cabinet and after introduction in the parliament, a debate on the bill will take place," Prakash Javdekar, a federal minister said during a press conference.
The bill is likely to be taken up in the Indian parliament next week.
Opposition parties have criticized the bill as contrary to secular principles enshrined in India's constitution as it excludes Muslims.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government had introduced the bill in its previous tenure and got it passed in the lower house of the parliament -- the Lok Sabha. However, it could not introduce it in the upper house -- the Rajya Sabha, due to vehement protests.
The bill lapsed following the dissolution of the previous Lok Sabha.