BRUSSELS: At least 156 members of the European Parliament are set to move a joint motion on Thursday for a resolution against the controversial and discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act in what is being considered a major blow to Indian diplomacy.
The motion for the resolution is being backed by six of the eight largest groups in the European Parliament, and was initiated by Kashmiri-origin British MEP Shafaq Mohmmad of the Renew Europe liberal group, along with with his colleagues Petras Auštrevicius, Catherine Bearder, Phil Bennion, Katalin Cseh, Chris Davies, Barbara Ann Gibson, Martin Horwood, and Irina Von Wiese from the group.
In the resolution, the MEPs state that the India’s fast-track citizenship act is “explicitly discriminatory in nature as it specifically excludes Muslims from access to the same provisions as other religious groups”.
They say the law undermines India’s commitment to uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination—treaties prohibiting discrimination on racial, ethnic or religious grounds which India is a signatory to.
They say the CAA sparked massive nationwide protests, with 27 reported deaths, 175 people being injured, and thousands of arrests. Indian authorities also used internet shutdowns, curfews and limits on public transportation to prevent the peaceful protests, they say. European Union member countries’ national flags wave in front of the European Parliament AFP/File photo
The resolution calls on the Government of India to “immediately engage in peaceful dialogue with various sections of the population and repeal the discriminatory amendments”, which constitute “a dangerous shift in the way citizenship is determined in India” and might lead to of the largest statelessness crisis in the world.
It also condemns the violence and systematic brutality perpetrated by the Indian government and calls on the Indian authorities “to end their violent repression of those who are critical of their policies”.
Speaking to media, British MEP Shafaq Mohmmad of the Renew Europe said India cannot hide behind the excuse that the discriminatory law is purely its internal matter. He said the matter was of great concern for the European Union as India has trampled upon UN Human Rights charter and European values of human rights.
Meanwhile, the Indian government has threatened the European Union with the cancellation of its foreign minister’s upcoming visit on February 17. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Brussels for the India-EU Summit, which will place on March 13.
On Thursday, when the 156 MEPs move the motion, it will be the first time that the full house of the European Parliament will debate the discriminatory laws recently introduced by the Narendra Modi’s government in India. The debate will bring the rightwing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led Hindutva regime’s fascist tactics into the public light.