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US body on religious freedom seeks sanctions against Amit Shah over Citizenship Bill

After the Lok Sabha clearance, the bill will be introduced in the Rajya Sabha - the upper house before it is made a law

Tuesday December 10, 2019 8:04 AM, ummid.com with inputs from Agencies

US Sanction against Amit Shah

Washington: Terming the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 a "dangerous turn in wrong direction", a federal US commission on international religious freedom has sought American sanctions against Home Minister Amit Shah if the controversial bill is passed by the Indian Parliament.

Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian parliament, Monday passed with 293 in its favour and 82 against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 after the Cabinet headed by PM Modi cleared it last week. The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha by Amit Shah amidst strong protests inside the parliament, and in various parts of the country, especially in the North East.

After the Lok Sabha clearance, the bill will be introduced in the Rajya Sabha - the upper house before it is made a law.

According to the proposed legislation, 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 there, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.

"If the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 passes in both houses of parliament, the US government should consider sanctions against the Home Minister Amit Shah and other principal leadership," US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said, according to news agency PTI.

"USCIRF is 'deeply troubled' by the passage of the CAB, originally introduced by Home Minister Shah, in the Lok Sabha given the religion criterion in the bill," it added.

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

Stating that in conjunction with the ongoing National Register of Citizens (NRC) process in Assam and nationwide NRC that Home Minister Shah seeks to propose, the commission said: "USCIRF fears that the Indian government is creating a religious test for Indian citizenship that would strip citizenship from millions of Muslims".

Amit Shah while introducing the Bill in the Lok Sabha said the Bill is not anti-Muslim. However, his repeated assertion that only Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities from Afghanistan, Bagladesh and Pakistan will be given citizenship - makes his intention clear.

While particpating in the debate on the controversial bill, senior Congress leader Manish Tewari said the Bill was against Articles 14, 15, 21, 25 and 26 of the Constitution, "unconstitutional" and against the basic right of equality. The Bill was also against the principles of B.R. Amedkar, he added.

On the other hand, AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi tore into pieces the copy of the Bill in the Lok Sabha and said it is divisive and not in the best interest of the country.

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