Citizenship Amendment Bill: U.S. Urges India To Protect Rights Of Religious Minorities
The sun sets over the Gyanvapi Mosque, left and center, and the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, right, in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. (Photographer: Kanishka Sonthalia/Bloomberg)  

Citizenship Amendment Bill: U.S. Urges India To Protect Rights Of Religious Minorities

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The United States has urged India to protect the rights of its religious minorities in keeping with its Constitution and democratic values, even as it continues to monitor developments in various Indian states related to Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

"We are closely following developments regarding the Citizenship Amendment Bill. Respect for religious freedom and equal treatment under the law are fundamental principles of our two democracies," a U.S. State Department spokesperson said on Thursday. "The U.S. urges India to protect the rights of its religious minorities in keeping with India's Constitution and democratic values.”

The Citizenship Amendment Bill, which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, was passed by Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. Lok Sabha cleared the Bill on Monday. The President gave his assent on Thursday, making the Citizenship Amendment Bill an Act.

The parliament nod to the bill has led to protests by the people in various states of the country, especially in the Northeastern region.

India's Ministry of External Affairs said the Bill provides expedited consideration for Indian citizenship to persecuted religious minorities already in India from certain contiguous countries.

It asserted that every nation has the right to enumerate and validate its citizenry, and to exercise the prerogative through various policies.

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