CAB is “dangerous turn in the wrong direction”: US Commission

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A federal US Commission on religious freedom said that the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) is a “dangerous turn in the wrong direction” and seeks American sanctions against Union Home Minister Amit Shah if the Bill is passed by both the houses of the Parliament.

The proposed legislation seeks to grant eligibility to members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, facing religious persecution for Indian citizenship.

In a statement issued by the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), it was deeply troubled over the passage of the bill in the Lok Sabha.

The Commission further stated that if CAB is passed in both the houses of parliament, the US government should consider sanctions against the Home Minister Amit Shah and other principal leadership.

The statement further reads as, “USCIRF is deeply troubled by the passage of the CAB, originally introduced by Shah, in the Lok Sabha given the religion criterion in the bill.”

The contentious bill has been introduced by the union home minister, where it was passed with 311 members favouring it and 80 voting against it, will now be tabled in the Rajya Sabha for its nod.

Shah while introducing the bill clarified that people belonging to any religion should not have any fear under Prime Minister Narendra Modi government and asserted the bill will give relief to those minorities who have been living a painful life after facing persecution in neighbouring countries.

The home minister said the bill has the “endorsement of 130 crore Indian citizens” and rejected fears that the measure is anti-Muslims, saying it will give rights to persecuted minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

“Citizenship amendment bill has the endorsement of 130 crore citizens of the country as it was the part of the BJP manifesto in 2014 as well as 2019 Lok Sabha elections,” he said.

It has been alleged by USCIRF that the CAB enshrines a pathway to citizenship for immigrants that specifically excludes Muslims, setting a legal criterion for citizenship based on religion.

It further stated that the CAB is a dangerous turn in the wrong direction; it runs counter to India’s rich history of secular pluralism and the Indian Constitution, which guarantees equality before the law regardless of faith.

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