New Delhi, Dec 10: India has rightly slammed the statement by the US Commission for International Religious Freedom for its remarks on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
The US Commission said earlier that the Bill sets a legal criterion for citizenship based on religion, while pointing out that the Bill excludes Muslims.
India, while countering the statement said that it is regrettable that the body chose to be guided by its own prejudices and biases on a matter on which it clearly has little knowledge or no locus stand.
India made it clear that the Bill nor the NRC seeks to strip citizenship from any faith.
First and foremost, one must understand that the Bill does not look to strip Indian citizens, even if they were Muslims of their citizenship. It is clearly stated that it applies to minorities who are facing religious and social persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
While the Congress today is criticising the Bill, one must remember that former prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh had said that with regard to the partition of our country, the minorities in countries like Bangladesh have faced persecution. It is our moral obligation that if circumstances force people, these unfortunate people to seek refuge in our country. Our approach to grant citizenship to these unfortunate people should be moral liberal. I sincerely hope this will be borne in mind while charting out the future course of action with regard to the Citizenship Act, Dr Singh had said in the Rajya Sabha on December 18, 2003.
The experts say that there is a concerted effort being made to create a scenario of panic. This Bill applies to the minorities from the countries that have been mentioned above. It would be wrong to say that India has blocked the citizenship of Muslims from any part of the world. They can still apply for citizenship through naturalisation. The manner in which the opposition is speaking about this matter clearly suggests that they are trying to cause an atmosphere of panic and trying to instigate the Muslims.
The Bill clearly aims at providing a home for the religious minorities in the three countries, who have faced persecution. Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Christians have been subject to gross injustice in these countries. Many have been forced to flee and live in India and for years they have been doing so without any rights. The Bill only aims at giving these persons the legitimacy they deserve.