Debate On CAA In European Parliament Today, Possible Vote Tomorrow

A vote could take place tomorrow afternoon on the resolution that says the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is "discriminatory and dangerously divisive".

A final joint resolution on India's citizenship law is ready for debate in the European Parliament.

New Delhi:

A final joint resolution is ready for debate in the European Parliament today and tomorrow on India's citizenship law, which has been put forward by 560 of the parliament's 751 MPs. A vote could take place tomorrow afternoon on the resolution that says the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is "discriminatory and dangerously divisive".

The resolution, put up by five different groups of MPs, calls on the government of India to engage with various sections of the population in peaceful dialogue and to repeal what it calls the discriminatory amendments, which violates India's international obligations. It warns against "increasing nationalism which has resulted in the fueling of religious intolerance and discrimination against Muslims".

The MPs express worry that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) - an exercise to identify illegal immigrants - marks a dangerous shift in the way citizenship will be determined in India, and may create a large-scale statelessness crisis and cause immense human suffering.

The resolution also says the "protests that broke out around India, particularly on university campuses, in response to the adoption of the CAA were met with a brutal crackdown by security forces".

It says: "Indian authorities have also used internet shutdowns and placed limits on public transportation to prevent peaceful protests; whereas reports have emerged of hundreds of protesters being beaten, shot at or tortured, in particular in Uttar Pradesh". Shutting down internet communications, the resolution says, is a violation of the fundamental right to access information.

The resolution also makes a specific reference to the arrest of human rights activists like Akhil Gogoi and Sadaf Jafar.

Indian officials have said the CAA is an internal matter of India and that the law was passed by India's democratically elected parliament. The government has also denied emphatically that the law is discriminatory and says it only seeks to fast-track citizenship for persecuted minorities.

European Parliament resolutions don't affect the decisions of the European Council or European Commission, but the timing is awkward, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi set to visit Brussels in March for an India-EU summit.

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