Monday, March 27, 2023
HomeDiplomacyUS panel slams India for citizenship bill, says 'religious test' threatens pluralism

US panel slams India for citizenship bill, says ‘religious test’ threatens pluralism

US Commission on International Religious Freedom too criticises proposed law, has sought sanctions on Amit Shah & other leaders if citizenship bill becomes law.

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New Delhi: Hours after the Lok Sabha passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill late Monday, the US House of Foreign Affairs Committee slammed India for its “religious test for citizenship” and said the proposed law threatens the “basic tenet” of the bilateral relationship.

Separately, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in a statement sought to impose sanctions on Home Minister Amit Shah and leaders in the Narendra Modi government if the bill is passed in both the Houses of Parliament.

“Religious pluralism is central to the foundations of both India and the United States and is one of our core shared values. Any religious test for citizenship undermines this most basic democratic tenet. #CABBill,” the House of Foreign Affairs Committee said in a tweet, while retweeting a New York Times report titled, India Takes Step Toward Blocking Naturalization for Muslims.

The Lok Sabha passed the contentious bill around Monday midnight after a fierce debate through the day. According to the proposed law, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who came to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan before 31 December 2014 facing religious persecution, won’t be treated as illegal immigrants and will be given Indian citizenship.

Also read: Without a pan-India NRC, Modi-Shah know Citizenship Bill is nothing but symbolism

Sanctions threat

In its statement, the USCIRF said, “If the CAB passes in both houses of parliament, the United States government should consider sanctions against the Home Minister and other principal leadership.”

The USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the US Congress to monitor, analyse and report on threats to religious freedom abroad.

The federal body said it is “deeply troubled” by the fact that the Lok Sabha passed the Bill, adding that it is a “dangerous turn in the wrong direction” and completely opposite to “India’s rich history of secular pluralism and the Indian Constitution, which guarantees equality before the law regardless of faith”.

It also said it is concerned that the CAB along with National Register of Citizens (NRC) process in Assam and other states will “strip citizenship from millions of Muslims”.

Also read: Economy to Citizenship Bill – Accusations pile on PM Modi, but he could not care less


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  1. As Dayanidhi Maran,DMK MP pointed out rightly during P-debate that the Christian minorities were not included in the BJP manifesto originally and were included as an after thought in the Bill fearing the Western Christian world.Moreover rest of the minorities are insignificant in nos. compared to Hindus who will form bulk of the nos.The censure from U.S. lawmakers proves their fear right.I only hope matter doesn’t escalate to U.N.While it is unfortunate the duo have lowered the stature of India in the eyes of international world but internally it could have much wider ramifications recreating a pre-partition like environment of 2-nation theory.

  2. Bipartisan & independent , my a$$.
    This is a Christian organization with sprinkling of few Arabs & Jews.
    Note that this body can pass judgement anywhere in the world barring US.
    In US , it has no jurisdiction.
    How convenient ???

  3. No power on this universe can challenge Hindus!!
    Let these secular people react since they have nothing else to do condemning others seems to be their whole and sole profession. Gosh I wish they were in the shoes of all those Hindus thus affected !!!
    Jai hind

  4. Go ahead mr.amit shah.Its your term now.Let US and others shout or sanction.US has diffrent eyes for Israel and for India.We will b pleased if bill pass3s thru RS.

  5. This is an internal issue and we will address it. That said, where was this voice of religious pluralism when Kashmiri Pundits were persecuted in their own homeland?

  6. The full Jaishankar has not impressed the United States. Our narrative on Kashmir is not being received well. Unlikely that appointing a firm of professional lobbyists will do the trick. Now CAB. Assam’s NRC has already drawn criticism. In the normal course, the diplomatic corps is expected to sensitise the political executive to the international reactions to important issues / decisions.

    • I express my strongest resentment that India has been wrongfully labeled a CPC (Country of Particular Concern) by USCRIF. It is based on flawed perceptions and assumptions which are biased and selective by the policy analyst(s) and uses skewed media bites from newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post (often referred to as “fake” by none other than President Trump). It is further based on the flawed interpretation of recently enacted CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act), and imaginative conclusions regarding NRC (National Register of Citizens) which is yet to be implemented.

      The biased reporters in the Western media and the analyst(s) at USCRIF are hardly familiar with India’s long standing political landscape, its pluralistic society, and the changing demographics and political climate. India embodies an ancient civilization and culture, time tested and thriving democracy, and a deeply rooted co-existence of many diverse religious groups including >15% Muslims. The Muslims in India have far greater freedom of expression and practice their religion unlike Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, and other minorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and many Islamic countries. A less discussed fact is the daily offerings in Hindu temples used to subsidize the pilgrimage to Mecca; a sign of benevolence and kind-heartedness of Hindus.

      A frequent reference to phrases such as, “Hindu militants,” “Hindu extremism,” and blaming the current democratically elected government for a, “culture of hate and bigotry,” are a few examples that are central to giving rise to Hinduphobia. The report fails to maintain objectivity by deliberately ignoring statements by the leaders to promote separatist agenda and hatred and incite the Hindu-Muslim divide. Why? There is no mention of the Muslim majority state (Jammu and Kashmir) systematically persecuting Brahmins and rendering them “homeless”. Why not the protection of Muslim women’s right to divorce against the reprehensible, and purportedly religious, practice of Talaq which is now illegal because of the very government accused of promoting a culture of hate and bigotry?

      It is very distressing that USCRIF’s CPC designation for India is devoid of objectivity, fairness, and facts. Does USCRIF have the hidden agenda and right to impose such designation to other sovereign nations without self-introspection of religious practices in the United States.

      In conclusion, India neither uses discriminatory practices nor engages in any systematic, ongoing, and egregious religious freedom violations against religious minorities including Muslims.

  7. Rubbish interpretation by US body. Why US is having qouta system immigration country-wise which is not totally free of bias?

  8. Who the bloody hell is this American entity to poke it’s stinking nose in India’s sovereignty..bloody barking dogs..they should first put Islamic countries on burning coals for religious persecution of its minorities

  9. Biggest indirect harm of Modi government’s actions will be that India will no longer be taken seriously when wise men of the world sit down to discuss serious matters. Very soon they will start asking, “can such people (meaning Modi & Co) be trusted with VETO POWER on the world stage?” We should stop dreaming about permanent membership of the Security Council, to begin with.

  10. I don’t think US has any right to interfear in our matters . Does Trump ask us what he should be doing to Pakistan. They are the reason why India has been facing terror attacks. It’s because of the dollars poured into paki economy by US that they keep attacking India. So just shut your traps and mind your bloody business

  11. The Americans have a right to decide whom to allow to enter the country and on what terms , so has India. India cannot be a country where anyone can go at will just as the rest of the countries of the world. Sanctions at the drop of a coin will make them meaningless,

  12. Does the US panel feel Israel should remove it’s right of return law? That law says every Jew has the right to live in Israel. India and Hindus are a soft target.

  13. Let them bark.Anyway Bill will be cleared in Rajyasabha tommorow.Muslims can still apply for citizenship through naturalisation.CAB is for persecuted minorities.Anyway globally how is minority defined?? Muslims are in majority in all three countries.NYT is known for its propaganda against India.Let everyone keep shouting.Ultimately Numbers matter in Rajyasabha matters which BJP has for the smooth passage of the bill.

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