MEA dismisses US Commission's statement on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill
The Ministry of External Affairs is unhappy with the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) after it issued a statement against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. USCIRF had called for sanctions against Union Home Minister Amit Shah, prompting MEA to say that the Body is guided by its own biases. MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the comments were "unwarranted". Here's what went down.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday, hours after Shah tabled it. USCIRF was quick to react, calling it a "dangerous turn in the wrong direction". In its statement, the Body also mentioned National Register of Citizens (NRC). "The Indian government is creating a religious test for Indian citizenship that would strip citizenship from millions of Muslims," USCIRF said.
The thing is USCIRF's suggestions aren't enforceable but the US State Department considers them on some occasions. It's also worth noting that India hasn't taken up the Body's recommendations for more than a decade, since the UPA regime. However, since the statement created a flutter, New Delhi released a strongly-worded rebuttal. MEA said considering USCIRF's history, the statement is hardly "surprising".
"The position articulated by USCIRF isn't 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," MEA said.
Explaining the Bill, MEA said India will give preference to persecuted religious minorities (non-Muslims) from neighboring countries. "Such an initiative should be welcomed, not criticized by those who are genuinely committed to religious freedom. Neither the CAB nor the National Register of Citizens (NRC) process seeks to strip citizenship from any Indian citizen of any faith," the ministry added.
We regret the inaccurate and unwarranted comments made by USCIRF on #CAB. They have chosen to be guided by their prejudices and biases on a matter on which they have little knowledge and no locus standi.— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) December 10, 2019
Read our full statement below ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/BLajy03MtZ
BJP managed to get the Bill passed in Lok Sabha, and is now hoping for a "re-victory" in the Upper House. While the first step was easy, considering BJP's mammoth number in the Lower House, the next move might pose a problem. The Bill will be tabled in Rajya Sabha tomorrow and all everyone wants to know is whether Shah will create history.