Updated: March 6, 2020 10:27:38 pm
Facing criticism from within and outside the country over the amended citizenship law, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday hit out at those who “preach for rights of refugees the world over” but are opposing the CAA that is giving citizenship to persecuted minorities of neighbouring nations.
Speaking at the Global Business Summit in New Delhi, Modi underlined his government’s “conviction to break status quo”, while defending contentious laws, including the Triple Talaq, abrogating Article 370 and amending the Citizenship Act.
The Citizenship Amendment Act was passed by the Parliament last year, resulting in a series of protests across the country.
“There is nothing wrong with talking the right things. But these people have a particular hatred for people who are doing the right things,” he said. “So when changes are brought in status quo, they see this as disruptions,” he was quoted as saying by PTI.
According to the CAA, members of the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who entered India before December 31, 2014 will get Indian citizenship. Critics have argued that the Act is unconstitutional as it makes religion criteria for citizenship. Combined with the proposed nationwide NRC, the Act has been accused of being discriminatory against Muslims.
In January this year, more than a month after the CAA was passed leading Bangladesh to cancel at least two ministerial visits to India, Prime Minister Hasina had said that while the CAA and NRC were “internal matters” of India, the CAA was “not necessary”.
On Saturday, Indonesia became the latest country to convey its concerns over the deadly riots in Delhi that were triggered by clashes over the amended Act. The Indonesian foreign ministry’s statement came hours after that country’s religious affairs ministry uncharacteristically issued a statement condemning the sectarian “violence against Muslims” in India.
At least 53 people have died in Delhi in communal clashes that spiralled over protests against the CAA. The US has urged India to “protect and respect” the right to peaceful assembly of people and hold accountable those perpetrating violence following the riots in Delhi.
Meanwhile, the Indian government has been emphasising that the new law will not deny citizenship rights, but it has been brought to protect the oppressed minorities of neighbouring countries and give them citizenship.
Last month, the Ministry of External Affairs Thursday said that India has reached out to countries across all geographic regions on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Several Opposition ruled states, including Kerala, Punjab, West Bengal, have said they will not implement the new law, and a clutch of petitions wanting it to be struck down are before the Supreme Court. While the government has toned down its rhetoric on NRC, Home Minister Amit Shah has said it will not budge on CAA.
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