Citizenship (Amendment) Bill may undermine basic tenets of democracy: United States

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Dec 10, 2019, 06.45 PM(IST) Edited By: Bharat Sharma

File photo. Photograph:( ANI )

Story highlights

According to the committee, any religious test for citizenship has the potential to undermine the basic tenets of democracy

The United States Committee on Foreign Affairs raised concerns over the Citizenship Amendment Bill which was recently in Lok Sabha.

The Bill intends to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.

According to the committee, any religious test for citizenship has the potential to undermine the basic tenets of democracy.

"Religious pluralism is central to the foundations of both India and the United States and is one of our core shared values. Any religious test for citizenship undermines this most basic democratic tenet," the committee said after the passage of the bill.

The legislation was passed with a majority, with 311 votes in favour and 80 against after a seven-hour-long debate.

People belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian communities from the three neighbouring countries and living in India will no longer be treated as illegal immigrants, if they arrived before December 31, 2014.

"The Bill enshrines a pathway to citizenship for immigrants that specifically excludes Muslims, setting a legal criterion for citizenship based on religion", said the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

The bill will be tabled in Rajya Sabha and require the support of at least 123 Members of Parliament in the 245-member house.

(With inputs from ANI)