Compared to Nazis
Guwahati, India -
India’s lower house passed the bill just after midnight following a fiery debate that saw one Muslim MP compare the government to the Nazis.
Once law, it will make it much easier for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians fleeing Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan to become Indians.
Modi’s government says Muslims from these three countries are excluded because they can choose to go to other Muslim countries.
Also excluded are other minorities fleeing political or religious persecution elsewhere, such as Tamils from Sri Lanka, Rohingya from Myanmar and Tibetans from China.
‘This bill is in line with India’s centuries old ethos of assimilation and belief in humanitarian values’, Modi tweeted.
“I say this again and again that this bill has nothing to do with the Muslims in this country,” Home Minister Amit Shah told parliament.
Shah has stoked further fears among India’s Muslims with his aim to conduct a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) that he says will see all ‘infiltrators’ identified and ‘expelled’ by 2024.
On Monday, almost 1,200 scientists and scholars at institutions in India and abroad published a joint letter expressing their ‘dismay’ at the legislation, saying the constitution called for members of all faiths to be treated equally.
The move also evoked sharp reactions from international groups, with an influential US body calling for sanctions on Shah and other key players of the proposed law.
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom in a statement termed the bill as a ‘dangerous turn in the wrong direction’, that together with the proposed National Register of Citizens, aims to create a religious test for Indian citizenship that would strip citizenship from millions of Muslims.
India’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday retorted saying the US group’s remarks were ‘neither accurate nor warranted’ and ‘guided by their prejudices and biases’.
The European Union’s Ambassador to India Ugo Astuto also expressed the bloc’s concerns, saying he hoped ‘the principle of equality enshrined in the Indian Constitution will be upheld’.
People burn tyres during a strike called by the North East Students’ Organization against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, in Guwahati on Tuesday