India’s ‘anti-Muslim’ bill violates international law: PM Imran
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday strongly condemned the Indian lower house’s move to pass a bill which will grant citizenship to religious minorities from neighbouring countries but not Muslims.
The premier tweeted: “We strongly condemn Indian Lok Sabha citizenship legislation which violates all norms of international human rights law and bilateral agreements with Pakistan.”
According to PM Imran the bill is “part of the RSS “Hindu Rashtra” design of expansionism propagated by the fascist Modi government.”
The Citizenship Amendment Bill provides that Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians fleeing persecution in Muslim-majority Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan can be granted citizenship.
The bill comfortably passed the lower house with 311 votes in favour and 80 against just after midnight.
Foreign Office (FO) called the bill a “complete violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international Covenants on elimination of all forms of discrimination based on religion or belief.”
The statement said, “The Lok Sabha legislation is also in complete contravention of various bilateral agreements between Pakistan and India particularly the one concerning security and rights of minorities in the respective countries.”
The FO said that the bill has once again exposed the “hollowness” of India’s claims to secularism and democracy’. It said, “Pushed by the majoritarian agenda, it [India] has revealed to the world the RSS-BJP exclusivist mentality and the true extent of their animus against the Muslims.”
The statement said that Pakistan condemns the bill as “regressive and discriminatory”, which violates related international conventions and norms. It also called the bill “a glaring attempt by India to interfere in the neighboring countries with malafide intent”.
US body proposes sanctions against Indian leaders
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom on Tuesday released a statement saying that it is ‘deeply troubled’ by the legislation.
According to the USCIRF, it will propose sanctions against senior members of the Indian political leadership if the bill is enacted as law. In its statement,the USCIRF noted that the bill specifically excluded Muslims.
“The Citizenship (Amendment) Billis a dangerous turn in the wrong direction; it runs counter to India’s rich history of secular pluralism,” the statement said. The commission also condemned the bill as a ‘violation’ of the Indian constitution.
Protests rage in northeast India
Protestors in northeast India set fire to tyres and cut down trees to block roads on Tuesday in a shutdown across the region hours after lawmakers approved the government´s new citizenship bill, reported AFP.
People in northeast India object for different reasons, fearing that large numbers of Hindu migrants from Bangladesh who they say are intruders will be given citizenship.
On Tuesday the region sandwiched between Bangladesh, China and Myanmar was crippled by a general strike called by dozens of organisations, with buses off the roads and most schools and shops shut.