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Dangerous turn in wrong direction

Dangerous turn in wrong direction
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US panel seeks sanctions against Shah if CAB passed in Parliament

Washington: A federal US commission on international religious freedom has said that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 is a "dangerous turn in wrong direction" and sought American sanctions against Union Home Minister Amit Shah if the bill is passed by both Houses of Parliament.

In a statement issued late on Monday, the USCIRF said it was deeply troubled over the passage of the Bill in the Lok Sabha.

It alleged that the CAB enshrines a pathway to citizenship for immigrants that specifically excludes Muslims, setting a legal criterion for citizenship based on religion.

"If the CAB passes in both Houses of Parliament, the US government should consider sanctions against Amit Shah and other principal leadership," the commission said.

Stating that in conjunction with the ongoing National Register of Citizens (NRC) process in Assam and nationwide NRC that Home Minister Shah seeks to propose, the commission said: "USCIRF fears that the Indian government is creating a religious test for Indian citizenship that would strip citizenship from millions of Muslims".

It also said that for more than a decade now the Indian government has ignored the statements and annual reports of the USCIRF. Recommendations of USCIRF are not enforceable.

However, its recommendations are seriously taken into consideration by the US Government, in particular, the State Department which is tasked with powers to take sanctionable actions against foreign entities and individuals for violation of religious freedom and human rights.

According to the proposed legislation, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, till December 31, 2014 facing religious persecution there, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.

Amit Shah on Monday introduced the controversial Bill in the Lok Sabha, where it was passed with 311 members favouring it and 80 voting against it, will now be tabled in the Rajya Sabha for its nod.

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