WASHINGTON: Expressing serious concerns over India’s passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha (the lower house), the United States has sought sanctions against Indian Home Minister Amit Shah and other main leaders over the controversial legislation.
The bill offers Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Muslim-majority neighbouring countries – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh – citizenship. While, there is no provision for Muslims in this bill.
The opposition parties in India has opposed the discriminatory bill, which was first tabled in 2016 but it could not be successful after an alliance party withdrew. This time it has garnered 311 votes in favor and merely 80 votes against. Now, it would be presented before the upper house.
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has stated that America was ‘deeply troubled’ by the bill, scroll.in reported. It said the legislation was “a dangerous turn in the wrong direction”
“It runs counter to India’s rich history of secular pluralism and the Indian Constitution, which guarantees equality before the law regardless of faith,” USCIRF added.
The commission has taken the Indian government to task for its proposed implementation of the National Register of Citizens across the country. Which, it said, would “strip citizenship from millions of Muslims”.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen Chairman Asaduddin Owaisi delivered a torrid speech and tore a copy of the citizenship bill.
Since the news of the bill aired on media, hundreds and thousands of people have taken to streets in India in protest against the segregation of Muslims in the country.
Pakistan condemns bill
Prime Minister Imran Khan in a tweet said the bill was a part of the RSS ‘Hindu Rashtra’ design of expansionism propagated by the fascist government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“We strongly condemn Indian Lok Sabha citizenship legislation which violates all norms of international human rights law and bilateral agreements with Pakistan,” he said.