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Pakistan slams India move on Assam citizenship rolls

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Pakistan's premier on Sunday criticized the Indian government's handling of the citizenship rolls in the northeastern state of Assam, calling it part of a violent effort by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to carry out "ethnic cleansing" of local Muslims.

This ideology sees Hindus as superior to all other groups in India, Imran Khan told the Islamic Society of North America, addressing their meeting in the U.S. city of Houston through videoconferencing, reported state-run Radio Pakistan.

"Right now 1.90 million Muslims of Assam are on the verge of losing their Indian citizenship, which is the same ideology that put around 9 million Muslims under curfew for 28 days in Kashmir," Khan said, referring to the crackdown and constitutional change last month downgrading Jammu and Kashmir in India.

He added that the same philosophy led to carnage against Muslims in the Indian state of Gujarat and the lynching of Muslims for slaughtering cows and eating beef.

"Reports in Indian and international media on the Modi government's ethnic cleansing of Muslims should send alarm bells ringing across the world that the illegal annexation of Kashmir is part of wider policy to target Muslims," Khan on Saturday tweeted after the Assam citizenship rolls were issued.

On Saturday, authorities in northeastern Indian state of Assam published the final list of the National Registration of Citizens (NRC), leaving out some 1.9 million people in the state.

The NRC list is unique to Assam. It was first tabulated in 1951, four years after independence from British rule, to distinguish Indian citizens from illegal migrants from bordering Bangladesh, which was then part of Pakistan.

In 2015, the government began updating the list. The new list includes only those people or their descendants who entered India before midnight of March 24, 1971, a day before Bangladesh began its independence movement. The first draft of the list published last year left out 4 million people.

Most of the people excluded from the list are Muslims, raising fears among the community that they are being targeted unfairly by the government.

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