EU MPs demand strong message be sent to India for passing Citizenship Amendment Act
BRUSSELS: Members of the European Parliament have strongly criticized India’s controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and expressed serious concerns over its discriminatory nature.
They were taking part in a debate on a resolution on the issue at the European Parliament session in Brussels.
Voting on the resolution was however deferred till next month as the case is currently pending with Supreme Court of India.
Representing various party groups in the European Parliament, the members said the recently-passed laws in India conflicted with democratic values and violated international law.
They said Narendra Modi government’s repression of Kashmir was tantamount to fascism and should be condemned.
The members urged EU to have a closer look on what was happening in India.
They demanded that a strong message be sent to New Delhi that without respect for human rights, India’s relations with the EU would be under serious threat.
The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) has been said to subvert the foundations of India’s secular constitution.
In Dec last year, the act was passed to reprieve non-Muslim illegal immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The federal government in India had said the law opposed religious minorities escaping persecution – but the move had invoked criticism from opposition parties and international rights groups worldwide.
It is controversial because it complies with a government plan to publish a nationwide register of citizens that it claims will identify illegal immigrants. In other words, anyone who doesn’t have the documents to prove that their ancestors resided in India.
A National Register of Citizens (NRC) passed in the north-eastern state of Assam witnessed 1.9 million people rendered stateless.
The NRC and the Citizenship Amendment Act were related because the latter would shield non-Muslims excluded from the register and likely suffer the threat of deportation and internment.
The change in the law invited severe backlash from many protestors, especially students.
Muslim citizens believe they could be made stateless if they don’t possess the required documents. Critics say the law “is exclusionary and disrupts secular principles enshrined in India’s constitution.”