- The government said the CAA has been adopted thorough democratic means
- 600 EU parliament members have moved resolutions against CAA, Article 370
- PM Modi will visit Brussels for the India-EU summit in March
India is facing a major diplomatic backlash from the European Union (EU) parliament on the Citizenship Amendment Act and the clampdown on Jammu and Kashmir ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Brussels for the India-EU summit in March.
As many as 600 of 751 members of the European Union parliament have moved six resolutions on both the issues, their greatest concern arising over the likelihood of the controversial citizenship law creating the "largest statelessness crisis in the world".
Government sources reacted by saying that the CAA -- as the citizenship law is widely referred to -- is a matter that's "entirely internal to India" and has been adopted through "due process and democratic means" after a public debate in both houses of parliament.
The six groups of European Union parliamentarians who moved the resolutions are the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats with 154 members; the European People's Party (Christian Democrats) with 182 members; European United Left and Nordic Green Left with 41 members; Greens/European Free Alliance with 75 members; Conservatives and Reformists with 66 members; and the Renew Europe Group with 108 members.
While the resolution moved by the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats denounced "the fact that India has incorporated religious criteria into its naturalisation and refugee policies", the one by the European People's Party expressed concern over "the CAA and the wide range of negative consequences that it might have for India's international image and internal stability".
The government, however, took exception to the move to pass the draft resolution on a matter that is "entirely internal" to India. "Every society that fashions a pathway to naturalisation contemplates both context and criteria. This is not discrimination. In fact, European societies have followed the same approach," a source said, hoping that those backing the draft would engage with the government to get a "full and accurate" assessment of the facts before proceeding any further.
"As fellow democracies, the EU Parliament should not take actions that call into question the rights and authority of democratically elected legislatures in other regions of the world," the source added.
Over 150 lawmakers had earlier demanded that the European Union insist on a "strong human rights clause with an effective implementation and suspension mechanism" during any trade agreement with India. The resolutions -- expected to be tabled during the plenary session of the European Parliament starting in Brussels next week -- come days after the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked India 10 places lower in the Democracy Index over the CAA and the Jammu and Kashmir clampdown.
The European Union lawmakers were just as critical of the BJP government's handling of the Jammu and Kashmir situation, and more so of the invite it had extended to a few of their colleagues last October. "We denounce the use of this trip to legitimise PM Modi's nationalist agenda and the human rights violations carried out under his authority," the European Free Alliance group said.
The Nordic Green Left, on the other hand, condemned the political detentions and Internet blackout imposed on Kashmir as well as the scrapping of its special status on August 5.
Many across the world had criticised the private visit by mostly right-wing members of the European Union parliament as a "PR stunt". The European Union skipped a visit to Jammu and Kashmir organised for foreign diplomats earlier this month, with sources telling NDTV that the envoys did not want a "guided tour" of the region.