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Top U.S. Senator expresses concern over notification of CAA rules

An influential U.S. senator has expressed concern over the Indian government notifying rules for implementing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2019. He says that as the U.S.-India relationship deepens, cooperation must be based on shared values of protecting the human rights of all, regardless of religion.

The Indian government implemented the CAA last week, paving the way for the grant of citizenship to undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan 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 Hindus.

“I am deeply concerned by the Indian government’s decision to notify its controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, particularly the law’s potential ramifications on India’s Muslim community. Making matters worse is that it is being pushed during the holy month of Ramzan,” Senator Ben Cardin, chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement.

“As the US-India relationship deepens, it is critically important that our cooperation is based on our shared values of protecting the human rights of all persons, regardless of religion,” he said.

Last week, the U.S. State Department expressed concern over the CAA’s notification. It said that respect for religious freedom and equal treatment under the law for all communities are fundamental democratic principles.

India had sharply rebuked the U.S. State Department for its criticism of the CAA, saying it was “misinformed and unwarranted.”

In separate statements, the Hindu Policy Research and Advocacy Collective (HinduPACT) and the Global Hindu Heritage Foundation supported the CAA.

The legislation provides expedited citizenship to persecuted Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain and Parsi minorities from India’s neighboring countries. It underscores India’s dedication to safeguarding individuals and families against religious persecution, resonating with global humanitarian principles.

“The CAA does not impact any citizen of India. The characterization of this law as being non-secular is unfounded. Hindu minority is discriminated against and decimated in India’s neighborhood. As Americans, we are disappointed that instead of standing for American values and the human rights of the persecuted, our government has chosen to oppose this humanitarian effort,” said Ajay Shah, founder and co-convenor of HinduPACT.

Deepti Mahajan, co-convenor of HinduPACT, said it is shocking to see the lack of empathy towards the plight of little girls from Hindu, Sikh and Christian minority communities in Pakistan.

“According to the UN Human Rights Commission, BBC and APPG reports, on average, 1,000 girls a year, as little as 10 years old, get abducted, converted, and become victims of sex slavery and forced marriages in Pakistan. Instead of calling out the government of Pakistan for its complicity in this ongoing heartbreaking act, the State Department seeks to criticize the Government of India’s effort to help these innocent victims,” she said.

The Global Hindu Heritage Foundation’s V.S. Naipaul said, “The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 addresses the plight of minorities, who are facing brutalities, persecution, forced conversion, murders, rapes, and all kinds of atrocities in our neighboring Islamic countries, where the idea of secularism, peace and humanity just cannot survive.”

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