IAMC denounces Modi Government's implementation of anti-Muslim citizenship law - IAMC

IAMC denounces Modi Government’s implementation of anti-Muslim citizenship law

Washington, DC (March 11, 2024) — The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), the largest advocacy organization representing diaspora Indian Muslims in the United States, vehemently condemns and expresses serious concerns over the announcement by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi government to implement the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Announced on Monday, March 11, the notified CAA rules purportedly grant Indian nationality exclusively to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan who entered India before December 31, 2014.

The implementation of the citizenship law comes almost four years after it was first passed in the Indian parliament, which resulted in some of the massive protests that the country witnessed post-independence. Dozens of Muslims were killed and hundreds injured in the resulting police action. Many leaders who led the anti-CAA protests still continue to languish behind bars under bogus terror charges.

This implementation of the citizenship law comes nearly four years after its initial passage in the Indian parliament, which sparked massive protests across the nation and by diaspora around the world. The Indian government’s heavy-handed response to these demonstrations led to the killings of dozens of Muslims and left hundreds injured in a brutal crackdown by law enforcement. Shockingly, numerous leaders who bravely spearheaded the anti-CAA protests find themselves unjustly incarcerated, languishing behind bars under fabricated terror charges.

Aligned with human rights organizations globally, IAMC is deeply concerned that this law, when coupled with the National Register of Citizens (NRC), poses a grave threat to the rights of over 200 million Indian Muslims, potentially resulting in the stripping of citizenship from those lacking decades-old documentation.

The NRC’s rollout in August 2019 in the northeastern state of Assam saw 1.9 million individuals excluded from the list of Indian citizens, effectively rendering them stateless. Indian Home Minister Amit Shah has repeatedly stated his government’s intention to implement the CAA before conducting a nationwide NRC exercise, purportedly to “detect and deport every infiltrator from our motherland.”

Under this system, Hindus excluded from the NRC could ostensibly gain citizenship through the CAA. Conversely, any Muslim lacking proper documentation faces the presumption of being an infiltrator and subsequent loss of citizenship.

“The law is a flagrant manifestation of discriminatory intent, designed with the explicit purpose of discriminating, dispossessing, and disenfranchising Indian Muslims. Its insidious aim becomes glaringly apparent when considered alongside the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens,” said Mohammed Jawad, IAMC President.

“Together, these measures form a sinister framework intended to systematically strip millions of Muslims of their citizenship, render them stateless in their own homeland and seal their lives to the dehumanizing conditions of detention camps. It represents a grave violation of human rights and stands as a stark indictment of the erosion of democratic principles,” Jawad added.

During the 2020 election campaign, President Joe Biden had expressed his disappointment at the implementation of CAA and NRC by labeling them “inconsistent with the country’s long tradition of secularism and with sustaining a multi-ethnic and multi-religious democracy.”

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has consistently warned that the CAA “could subject Muslims, in particular, to statelessness, deportation and prolonged detention.”  Human Rights Watch has characterized the law as “establishing legal mechanisms to deprive millions of Muslims of their fundamental right to equal access to citizenship.”

In January 2024, the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning the discriminatory CAA law, highlighting concerns regarding India’s human rights and religious freedom issues.

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