US On India’s New Citizenship Law CAA

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New Delhi:

The United States today said it is closely monitoring the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) implemented by India to expedite Indian citizenship for persecuted migrants from neighbouring countries.

The Act aims to ease the citizenship process for undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. Critics have questioned the government over the exclusion of Muslims from the Act, but Home Minister Amit Shah said that CAA is meant to help minorities in those countries facing religious persecution. He said that Muslims from these countries are also free to apply for Indian citizenship under the existing laws.

The US, asked whether they fear the CAA could affect religious freedom, said they are concerned and will closely monitor how India implements it.

“We are concerned about the notification of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act on March 11. We are closely monitoring this Act – how this Act will be implemented,” State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters at his daily briefing.

“Respect for religious freedom and equal treatment under the law for all communities are fundamental democratic principles,” he added.

The Centre implemented the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 on Monday, reducing the qualification period of application for citizenship from 11 to 5 years for eligible migrants who came to India before December 31, 2014.

The government also came out with a press statement to say that Indian Muslims need not worry as the CAA will not impact their citizenship and has nothing to do with the community which enjoys equal rights as their Hindu counterparts.

The government has maintained that the CAA is about granting citizenship and that no citizen of the country will lose citizenship.

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