India on Tuesday came down heavily on the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) for making ‘inaccurate’ comments about Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) guided by its own prejudices.
Asserting that a US federal commission doesn’t have a locus standi on the issue and therefore the statements were uncalled for. The US Commission alleged that CAB enshrines a pathway to citizenship for immigrants that specifically excludes Muslims, setting a legal criterion for citizenship based on religion. It also said that the Bill was a “dangerous turn in wrong direction”, and sought American sanctions against Home Minister Amit Shah if the Bill is passed by both Houses of Parliament.
“The CAB is 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,” it said.
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom’s statement on the Bill is neither accurate nor warranted, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said. Neither the Citizenship Amendment Bill, nor the NRC process seeks to strip citizenship from any Indian citizen of any faith, he said.
Kumar added, “The position articulated by USCIRF is not surprising given its past record. It is, however, regrettable that the body has chosen to be guided only by its prejudices and biases on a matter on which it clearly has little knowledge and no locus standi.”
The Lok Sabha passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan after facing religious persecution there, a little past midnight on Monday.