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.
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. #CABBillhttps://t.co/7wyeXMFfxl
— House Foreign Affairs Committee (@HouseForeign) December 9, 2019
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.
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”.
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