The government of India on Tuesday dismissed the comments made US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) on the Citizenship Amendment Bill saying it has ‘no locus standi’ on the matter and its remarks were only guided by its ‘prejudices’.
“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 it clearly has little knowledge and no locus standi,” MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar said in reply to a queries.
The USCIRF is a US federal government commission created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.
“Every nation, including the United States, has the right to enumerate and validate its citizenry, and to exercise this prerogative through various policies,” the MEA spokesman said.
Mr Kumar said: “The statement made by the USCIRF on the Citizenship Amendment Bill is neither accurate nor warranted. The Bill provides expedited consideration for Indian citizenship to persecuted religious minorities already in India from certain contiguous countries”.
The Bill seeks to address their current difficulties and meet their basic human rights. “Such an initiative should be welcomed, not criticized by those who are genuinely committed to religious freedom,” Mr Kumar said.
MEA spokesman said The Citizenship Amendment Bill “does not” affect the existing avenues available to all communities interested in seeking citizenship from doing so.
“The recent record of granting such citizenship would bear out the Government of India’s objectivity in that regard. Neither the CAB nor the National Register of Citizens (NRC) process seeks to strip citizenship from any Indian citizen of any faith. Suggestions to that effect are motivated and unjustified,” he said.
The USCIRF in a statement has said that the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which was cleared by Lok Sabha on Monday, “runs counter to India’s rich history of secular pluralism and the Indian Constitution, which guarantees equality before the law regardless of faith”.