Critics say the move is part of the agenda of Hindu supremacy pushed by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi [File: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters]

India’s southern Kerala state on Tuesday became the first state to legally challenge a new citizenship law that has triggered nationwide demonstrations.

The Kerala government, in its petition to the Supreme Court, called the law a violation of the secular nature of the Indian constitution and accused the government of dividing the nation on religious lines.

The citizenship law backed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party provides a path to naturalisation for people from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, unless they are Muslim. It has led to nationwide protests and clashes with police, leading to 23 deaths.

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