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Key Provisions of India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) May Violate Constitution: US Congress Report

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A report by the independent Congressional Research Service (CRS) of the US Congress has claimed that certain provisions of India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which came into force in March 2023, may violate parts of the Indian Constitution.

The CRS report stated, “The CAA’s key provisions — allowing immigrants of six religions from three countries a path to citizenship while excluding Muslims — may violate certain Articles of the Indian Constitution.”

While the Indian government has asserted that the CAA’s aim is purely humanitarian, the report mentioned, “Opponents of the act warn that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are pursuing a Hindu majoritarian, anti-Muslim agenda that threatens India’s status as an officially secular republic and violates international human rights norms and obligations.”

The report further alleged, “In tandem with a National Register of Citizens (NRC) planned by the federal government, the CAA may threaten the rights of India’s large Muslim minority of roughly 200 million.”

However, the Indian government has dismissed such criticism. Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh defended the CAA, saying, “The CAA is not meant to take away anyone’s citizenship, but is a law for granting Indian citizenship to people displaced from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan on religious grounds.”

The Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal emphasized, “The CAA is about giving citizenship, not about taking away citizenship. It addresses the issue of statelessness, provides human dignity and supports human rights.”

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