Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla has written to the President of the European Union parliament a day after 600 of its 751 Parliament members moved six resolutions on the Citizenship Amendment Act, expressing concern that it would create the "largest statelessness crisis in the world". Pointing out that such a resolution would set an "unhealthy precedent", the Speaker wrote: "It is inappropriate for a legislature to pass judgement on another, a practice that can be surely misused for vested interests".
The citizenship law, he wrote, has been passed with due deliberation in both houses of parliament. "This Act provides for granting easier citizenship to those who have been subjected to religious persecution in our immediate neighbourhood. It is not aimed at taking away citizenship from anybody," the letter, addressed to the President of the EU Parliament, read.
Accusing the government of "discriminating against, harassing and prosecuting national and religious minorities and silencing any opposition, human rights groups... and journalists critical of the government", the EU lawmakers had asked their Parliament to insist on a "strong human rights clause with an effective implementation and suspension mechanism" during any trade agreement.
The resolutions are likely to be tabled during the session of the European Parliament that starts next week in Brussels. PM Modi is expected to visit Brussels in March for the India-European Union Summit.
New Delhi has strongly criticised the move - which came days after India slipped 10 spots in the Democracy Index. the Economist Intelligence Unit, which ranked India outside the top 50m had expressed concern about the citizenship law and the five-month-long restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir.
"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," Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said earlier on Monday, referring to the incidents of violence against members of the Sikh community in Pakistan this month.
The government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have repeatedly explained that this is an "internal matter", he added.
The EU had skipped a visit Jammu and Kashmir earlier this month that was organised by the government for foreign diplomats. Sources told NDTV that the lawmakers did not want a "guided tour".
The Citizenship Amendment Act makes religion, for the first time, the test of Indian citizenship. The government says it will help non-Muslim refugees from three Muslim-dominated neighbouring countries if they fled to India because of religious persecution. Critics say the bill discriminates against Muslims and violates secular tenets of the Constitution.