Amid the ongoing protests on the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the Metropolitan Archbishop of Bangalore, Peter Machado Wednesday submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging the Centre to grant citizenship to illegal migrants not on the basis of religion, but on the merit of every individual case.
“We appeal to the central government to grant citizenship to the illegal migrants not on the basis of their religions, but on the merit of each individual case,” the memorandum said.
The memorandum was also submitted to President Ram Nath Kovind and Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala.
The letter, titled “The Response of all the Christians of Karnataka on CAB”, further mentions that there is a danger of people being polarised along religious lines.
“Religion should never be the criterion for citizenship of a country. Nor is violence a solution when there is a difference of opinion,” the Archbishop who is also the President of All Karnataka United Christian Forum for Human Rights added.
Archbishop Machado also urged the government to be in dialogue with those opposing the Act in order to “come to an agreement about the way forward with justice, equity and fairness.”
Mentioning that the new law caused misunderstandings among people and has led to violence in different parts of the country, he said, “There is no harm in backtracking, changing course if this is necessary for the good of the country and our people.”
He also said that if the government reconsiders “offering citizenship on the basis of religion”, it would provide justice to all illegal migrants and promote equality among them. “More so, it can also convince the citizens of the country that it upholds the sacredness of the Constitution and respects the rights of all the linguistic and religious minorities without any discrimination,” he wrote.
Earlier, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Bombay Oswald Cardinal Gracias had also said that religion should never divide people. “There may be a difference of opinion, but everyone has to come together, even the politicians and have a dialogue…,” he had said.