The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which has triggered a set of domino protests across the country and led to 26 deaths, will be taken up for debate in the European Parliament next week. The European Parliament will also vote on a draft resolution, which states the law will “create the largest statelessness crisis in the world,” PTI reported.
The resolution was tabled by the European United Left/ Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) Group in the Parliament. It will be taken up for discussion next week on Wednesday and voted on the day after.
“The CAA marks a dangerous shift in the way citizenship will be determined in India and is set to create the largest statelessness crisis in the world and cause immense human suffering,” the resolution says.
The MEA has maintained that the law “does not seek to strip anybody of citizenship” and that the CAA “does not alter the basic structure of the Constitution”.
The resolution makes a reference to the United Nations Charter, Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the India-EU Strategic Partnership Joint Action Plan signed in November 2005, and to the EU-India Thematic Dialogue on Human Rights.
The draft, which has been characterised under the “Relations with Asian countries” section, urges Indian authorities to “engage constructively” with those protesting against the CAA and consider their demands to repeal the “discriminatory” Citizenship law.
“Instead of addressing the concerns, offering corrective action, calling for security forces to act with restraint and ensuring accountability, many government leaders have been engaging in efforts to discredit, rebuke and threaten the protesters,” the resolution states.
Under the new law, Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Buddhists, and Jains from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan are eligible for citizenship within the cutoff date of December 31, 2014. It has become controversial largely because it excludes Muslims.
The resolution also states that since the May 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Indian government had “reinforced its nationalistic orientation” with hints at the abrogation of Article 370 and scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.
Under the category of “Resolutions on topical subjects,” the draft expresses concern about India having “created the legal grounds to strip millions of Muslims the fundamental right of equal access to citizenship” and that CAA could be combined with NRC to “render many Muslim citizens stateless”.
If it is passed next week, it will be formally sent to the Indian government and Parliament as well as to the European Commission chiefs.
The Indian Express had reported on December 30 that though diplomats have publicly maintained that the CAA is an “internal issue”, ambassadors and diplomats from at least 16 countries that The Indian Express spoke to had expressed “concern” at the situation on the new law and the protests against it.
Meanwhile, last month, the US also said that it was closely following the developments and urged Indian authorities to protect and respect the right of peaceful assembly. “We are closely following developments regarding the Citizenship Amendment Act. We urge authorities to protect and respect the right of peaceful assembly. We also urge protestors to refrain from violence,” a US State Department spokesperson had said in a statement in Washington DC.
Earlier on December 13, while stressing that “respect for religious freedom and equal treatment under the law are fundamental principles of our two democracies”, the US State Department had said, “The United States urges India to protect the rights of its religious minorities in keeping with India’s Constitution and democratic values.”
(with PTI inputs)
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