NEWS
13/12/2019 9:50 AM IST | Updated 13/12/2019 10:01 AM IST

Citizenship Bill: US State Department Urges India To Protect Rights Of Religious Minorities

Back home, Assam is burning. Two people have been killed in police firing in the state as protesters defied curfews.

James Leynse via Getty Images
The Department of State in Washington, D.C.

The US State Department has urged India to protect the rights of minority communities in light of the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. 

President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday signed the bill, making it an act. 

The Hindu quoted the US State Department as saying, “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. The United States urges India to protect the rights of its religious minorities in keeping with India’s Constitution and democratic values.” 

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Back home, there are protests across the north east over the bill. Chaos ensued in Guwahati, the epicentre of the protests, where two people were shot dead by the police. 

Protesters defied curfew even as the Army carried out flag marches in the city. Indefinite curfew has been imposed in Dibrugarh, Tezpur and Dhekiajuli. PTI reported officials as saying night curfew had been imposed in Jorhat, Golaghat, Tinsukia and Charaideo.

Constitutional expert Faizan Mustafa told Huffpost India in an interview how the controversial bill violates the basic structure of the Indian constitution. 

“The CAB if linked to the National Register of Citizens will bring in more chaos. When it implemented NRC in Assam, the government presumed that ‘illegal’ Muslim migrants from Bangladesh and Pakistan will be excluded in large numbers. But in reality, this number turned out to be less and it was found that migration from Pakistan was near nil and that from Bangladesh was less than expected. It seems like the only way to exclude Muslims was to bring in religious classification which is arbitrary in nature,” he said.