A group of left and far-left lawmakers from the European Union has proposed a resolution to call on the Indian government to engage constructively with those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act and consider their demands to repeal it. The lawmakers sought to urgently call on the Indian government and Parliament to “demonstrate their expressed commitment to fully guaranteeing the protection of refugees and migrants, irrespective of their religion”.
The draft resolution is expected to be debated on January 29 and a vote is likely on January 30.
The proposed resolution calls the Citizenship Amendment Act discriminatory, and expresses concern about the possible use of the legislation, along with the proposed National Register of Citizens, to “render many Muslim citizens stateless”. It sought to remind India that governments are required to ensure that people belonging to minority groups, including religious minorities, may exercise their human rights without discrimination and in full equality before the law. The resolution said India had violated of internationally recognised principles.
The lawmakers condemned the “excessive force in the crackdown” on protests against the citizenship law, and demanded a “credible, independent investigation”. They also called on Indian authorities to stop “the criminalisation of protests”, to lift the “disproportionate restrictions” on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, to end the “indiscriminate shutdowns” and to ensure the protection of all human rights.
The amended Citizenship Act has expedited the path to citizenship for six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered India before December 31, 2014. However, the government’s critics fear that since a religion criterion has been added to the Citizenship Act, only Muslims will be disproportionately affected by NRC. The law has been met with protests that have continued for almost a month and a half.