Critics have slammed the legislation as a violation of India’s secular constitution [Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters]

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has defended a contentious citizenship law his government passed as protesters continued to demonstrate against the new legislation that excludes Muslims.

Modi took the stage at a rally in New Delhi on Sunday to launch his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s campaign for the capital legislative assembly elections in February.

But he quickly turned to address the contentious law and the ensuing nationwide protests that have left at least 23 people dead.

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“The law does not impact 1.3 billion Indians, and I must assure Muslim citizens of India that this law will not change anything for them,” said Modi, adding that his government introduces reforms without

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