Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today hit back at EU parliamentarians who sponsored six resolutions against the citizenship law and the clampdown in Jammu and Kashmir, saying the government considered both issues "internal matters" and that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar would soon speak to the European Union (EU) lawmakers to explain the country's position.
"The government has already explained this is an internal matter... even the Prime Minister has," Mr Prasad told reporters, adding, "However, since you have asked me this question, let me ask a counter question... have my esteemed friends in the EU parliament sought to raise questions over victimisation of Hindu girls and Sikh granthis in Pakistan? It is time they were objective".
The minister was referring to incidents of violence against members of the Sikh community in Pakistan this month, including the "abduction, forced conversion and marriage of a Sikh girl Jagjit Kaur" and an angry mob pelting stones at the Gurudwara Nankana Sahib in that country.
The gurudwara attack and the killing of a 25-year-old Sikh man a few days later have been picked up by the government to reinforce its pro-CAA argument, with Union Home Minister Amit Shah saying "(we) will not rest till Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Christian refugees from Pakistan are given citizenship".
Yesterday over 150 European Union MPs drafted a resolution against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, or CAA, and said it "marks a dangerous shift in the way citizenship will be determined in India and is set to create the largest statelessness crisis in the world and cause immense human suffering".
The resolution - likely to be tabled during the session of the European Parliament that starts next week in Brussels - comes days after the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked India outside the top 50 in the Democracy Index, mentioning the citizenship law and restrictions in J&K as points of major concern.
Earlier this month, the EU skipped a government-supervised visit to J&K; diplomatic sources told NDTV the envoys did not want a "guided tour" and would visit later.
EU MPs did visit J&K in October last year, but that was in their private capacity. That visit, mostly by right-wing leaders, was criticised by the opposition who pointed out they had been denied the same opportunity.
Government sources reacted to the EU MP's resolution by saying the law was a matter "entirely internal to India" and had been adopted through "due process and democratic means" after a public debate in both houses of parliament.
The citizenship law makes religion, for the first time, the test of Indian citizenship. The government says the law will help non-Muslim refugees fleeing religious persecution from three Muslim-dominated neighbouring countries. However, critics say the law discriminates against Muslims and violates secular tenets of the Constitution.
With input from PTI