India slams US panel over statement on Citizenship Amendment Bill

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Dec 10, 2019, 06.51 PM(IST)

File Photo: Raveesh Kumar, official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs. Photograph:( ANI )

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The US House foreign affairs committee has raised concerns over the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Lok Sabha. 

The ministry of external affairs(MEA) today slammed the US panel on international religious freedom for its statements on the citizenship amendment bill.

"We regret the inaccurate and unwarranted comments made by USCIRF on CAB," the MEA said, adding, "they have chosen to be guided by their prejudices and biases on a matter on which they have little knowledge and no locus standi."

"The Bill provides expedited consideration for Indian citizenship to persecuted religious minorities already in India from certain contiguous countries. It seeks to address their current difficulties and meet their basic human rights," it said.

"Such an initiative should be welcomed, not criticised by those who are genuinely committed to religious freedom," the MEA statement said.

On Tuesday, the US House foreign affairs committee has raised concerns over the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Lok Sabha. 

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"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 reacted after the passage of the bill.

"The CAB does not affect the existing avenues available to all communities interested in seeking citizenship from doing so. The record of granting such citizenship would bear out the government of India's objectivity in that record," the MEA said.

"Neither the CAB nor the National Register of Citizens(NRC) process seeks to strip citizenship from any Indian citizen of any faith," it said.

"Suggestions to that affect are motivated and unjustified."

"Every nation, including the United States, has the right to enumerate and validate its citizenry and to exercise this prerogative through various policies," the statement added.

"The position articulated by USCIRF is not surprising given its past record. It is, however, regrettable that the body has chosen to be guided only by its prejudices and biases on a matter on which clearly it has little knowledge and no locus standi."