The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a US federal government commission has raised concerns over India’s Citizenship Amendment Bill that was passed in the Lok Sabha yesterday. The commission has issued a notice, stating that it will recommend the US government to consider sanctions against the Indian Home Minister Amit Shah and other principal leadership.
It is notable here that the USCIRF is the same body that had recommended the US government not to approve a tourist Visa for PM Narendra Modi after the Gujarat riots when he was the CM of the state.
The USCIRF notification states that The CAB enshrines a pathway to citizenship for immigrants that specifically excludes Muslims, setting a legal criterion for citizenship based on religion.
“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”, it states.
It also says that in conjunction with the NRC in Assam and the nationwide NRC proposed by Amit Shah, the USCIRF fears that the Indian government is creating a “religious test for Indian citizenship that would strip citizenship from millions of Muslims”.
However, the USCIRF has slyly forgotten to mention that NRC is directed against illegal immigrants, and not against the genuine Muslim citizens of India.
Ironically, the USCIRF identifies itself as an “independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze and report on threats to religious freedom abroad.”
Despite being the self-proclaimed watcher of ‘threats to religious freedom abroad’ the USCIRF has failed to acknowledge that India’s CAB aims to help the religiously persecuted minorities in its neighbourhood Muslim-majority nations, where Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and even Christians are facing the worst forms of abuse, harassment and state-sanctioned oppression.
It is notable here that several US lawmakers and organisations had also made a lot of noise over India’s move to abrogate Article 370 in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. However, India had sent a firm message internationally to all nations to refrain from meddling in India’s internal affairs. A resolute India had communicated firmly that it will no longer bow down to such pressure tactics.