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CAA long overdue, say Indian American groups

Washington, Mar 12 (PTI) The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which was notified in India on Monday, was long overdue and mirrors the Lautenberg Amendment for religious refugees in the United States, Hindu American groups said.

Washington, Mar 12 (PTI) The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which was notified in India on Monday, was long overdue and mirrors the Lautenberg Amendment for religious refugees in the United States, Hindu American groups said.

Under CAA, which was passed by the Parliament in December 2019, the central government can grant citizenship to non-Muslim migrants - from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan - who came to India due to religious persecution before December 31, 2014.

“India’s Citizenship Amendment Act is long overdue and necessary. It protects some of the most vulnerable refugees in India, granting them the human rights they were denied in their home country, and the clear and expedited path to citizenship needed for them to begin rebuilding their lives,” said Hindu American Foundation (HAF) executive director Suhag Shukla.

HAF in a statement said that CAA does not alter the rights of any Indian citizen nor does it establish any religious test for general immigration or exclude Muslims from immigrating to India, as is sometimes wrongly said and reported.

“CAA mirrors the long-established Lautenberg Amendment in the US, in place since 1990, which has provided a clear immigration path for persons fleeing a select group of nations where religious persecution is rampant,” she said.

“I’m proud to see both the oldest and largest secular democracies in the world — the US and India — be a beacon of hope by extending a pathway to freedom and a new life to those who have suffered gross human rights violations simply because of their religion,” Shukla said.

This is a big win for human rights for the persecuted religious minorities of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, said Pushpita Prasad of Coalition of Hindus of North America.

“A reminder - CAA has NO impact on existing Indian citizens of any faith. It simply fast-tracks the Indian citizenship process for approximately 31,000 religious minorities who fled Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan in the face of extreme and systemic persecution,” Prasad said.

“For instance, each year in Pakistan alone 1000+ minor girls from minority communities are kidnapped, forcibly converted and 'married' to their abductors, with support from police and judicial authorities. As a result, petrified families with young kids have been fleeing to India for basic safety,” Prasad said.

“CoHNA had run an education and advocacy campaign on CAA in 2020 to counter the fake propaganda being pushed on the topic, with eight cities passing resolutions against. To prevent the spread of misinformation AGAIN, we urge residents of US and Canada to educate themselves and others around them,” she said.

Popular African-American singer Mary Millben described it as a pathway towards peace. “This is a true act of democracy,” she said in a post on X.

“As a Christian, woman of faith, and global advocate for religious freedom, I applaud the Modi-led government announcing today the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act now granting Indian nationality to persecuted non-Muslim migrants, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, and Parsis from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan,” Millben wrote.

The popular singer thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the Indian government for their 'compassionate leadership and most importantly for upholding religious freedom' in welcoming those persecuted.

On the other hand, Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) condemned and expressed serious concerns over the announcement by India to implement CAA, which it called 'discriminatory'.

“The law is a flagrant manifestation of discriminatory intent, designed with the explicit purpose of discriminating, dispossessing, and disenfranchising Indian Muslims. Its insidious aim becomes glaringly apparent when considered alongside the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens,” said Mohammed Jawad, IAMC president. PTI LKJ MNK MNK MNK

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