New Delhi: A federal US body on international religious freedom on Monday called the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) a ‘dangerous turn in wrong direction’ and called for American sanctions on Union Home Minister Amit Shah if the bill is approved by the Parliament.
The Bill was tabled in the lower House for discussion by the Home Minister, who also heads the ruling BJP. It was approved late last night after a nearly 12-hour-long debate with a 311-80 majority.
In a statement, the US Commissions For International Religious Freedom (UCIRF) said, “We are deeply troubled over the passage of the bill in the Lok Sabha. If it is passed in the Rajya Sabha too, and thus the Parliament, the US government should consider sanctions against Home Minister Amit Shah and other principal leadership.”
“The bill, which was originally introduced by Home Minister Shah, worries us due to the religious criterion in it,” the statement further said.
Separately, the body, on its official Twitter account, said, “The CAB enshrines a pathway to citizenship for immigrants that specifically excludes Muslims, setting a legal criterion for citizenship based on religion.”
Critics of the bill, which is likely to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, argue that in excluding Muslim refugees from Indian citizenship, it discriminates against them on religious basis. The CAB aims to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhist, Parsis and Christians, who, facing persecution in Muslim-majority Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, migrated to India before December 31, 2014.
It is also argued that Indian Muslims, too, will be left ‘stateless,’ if CAB is indeed implemented.
The Home Minister, however, has assured in the Lok Sabha that the bill is ‘not even 0.001% against the minorities.’