US Panel seeks sanctions against Indian Home Minister

By Syed Umarullah Hussaini - Web Editor

11th December, 2019

Indian Home Minister Amit Shah is not waters, as United States Commission on International Religious Freedom says it is deeply troubled by the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Indian Lok Sabha and sought sanctions against Amit Shah and other principal leadership if it is passed by the Rajya Sabha.

In a statement, the Commission said the bill is a dangerous turn in the wrong direction, pointing that the legislation used religion as a legal criterion to grant citizenship.

The Commission further said it runs counter to India’s rich history of secular pluralism and the Indian Constitution.

The Commission feared the government’s proposed implementation of the National Register of Citizens across the country is a religious test which would strip citizenship from millions of Muslims.

Shah is a close associate of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose Hindu nationalist-led government is seen by critics as pushing an agenda that undermines the secular foundations of India’s democracy.

On Tuesday, the lower house of Parliament’s approved the measure covering citizenship for non-Muslim minorities, specifically Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Parsis and Sikhs from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The bill has prompted criticism at home and abroad, as it marks the first time India is weighing religion in granting citizenship, although it must first pass the upper house of Parliament, where Modi’s party lacks a majority.

The measure goes against India’s constitution, which guarantees legal equality to people of all faiths, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom said.

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