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'Misplaced, misinformed, unwarranted': India reacts to US 'closely monitoring' implementation of CAA

The United States said it was concerned about the Citizenship Amendment Act and is closely monitoring the implementation of the Act. This came days after the government implemented the rules of the Act to expedite Indian citizenship for persecuted migrants from neighbouring countries.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee New Delhi Updated on: March 15, 2024 15:34 IST
MEA, India, US, Citizenship Amendment Act
Image Source : MEA MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal on Fridat

New Delhi: India reacted strongly to the US expressing concerns about the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and saying it is "closely monitoring" the implementation of the legislation, saying it is "misplaced, misinformed and unwarranted". The Ministry of External Affairs explained that the CAA is an internal matter of India and underscores its longstanding commitment to human rights by granting safe haven to persecuted minorities.

"As regards the US State Department's statement on the implementation of CAA, and there have been comments made by several others, we are of the view that it is misplaced, misinformed and unwarranted. India's constitution guarantees freedom of religion to all its citizens," said MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal.

The MEA spokesperson underscored that the motive of the recently notified legislation was to provide citizenship and not take it away, and the CAA "addresses the issue of statelessness, provides human dignity and supports human rights". The rules for implementation of the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 were notified on March 11, four years after being passed, thus paving the way for granting citizenship to undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.

"There are no grounds for any concern or treatment of minorities. Vote bank politics should not determine views about a laudable initiative to help those in distress. Lectures by those who have a limited understanding of India's pluralistic traditions and the region's post-partition history are best not attempted. Partners and wellwishers of India should welcome the intent with which this step has been taken," Jaiswal further said while speaking on reactions of other countries on CAA.

What did the US say?

The US Department of State on Thursday (local time) said it was concerned about the CAA and was closely monitoring the implementation of the legislation. "So we are concerned about the notification of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act on March 11. We are closely monitoring this act – how this act will be implemented. Respect for religious freedom and equal treatment under the law for all communities are fundamental democratic principles," said State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller in a regular press briefing.

With the CAA rules being issued, the Modi government has now started granting Indian nationality to persecuted non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who came to India till December 31, 2014. These include Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians. 

The Ministry of Home Affairs said that a helpline number will soon be launched to assist applicants for Indian citizenship. Earlier, the Ministry of Home Affairs had readied a portal for the convenience of the applicants as the entire process will be online. The applicants must declare the year when they entered India without travel documents.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah assured minorities that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act is not meant to snatch anyone's citizenship. He also stressed that the Citizenship Amendment Act will never be taken back and the Centre will not compromise on the sovereign right to ensure Indian citizenship in the country. 

ALSO READ | US says it's 'concerned' about CAA, is closely monitoring implementation in India

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