Saturday, January 16, 2021

Muslim Majority Maldives Backs India Over Citizenship Bill

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill or CAB is an internal matter of India, Maldives’ Parliament speaker Mohamed Nasheed said on Friday, emphasizing that the country has always been a safe haven for oppressed minorities.

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The former president of Maldives, who is leading a parliamentary delegation to India, raised three key issues plaguing the island nation – the Islamic State, debt trap of China and climate change. Responding to a question on Maldives’ stand on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, Nasheed said it is India’s internal matter.

“I have complete trust in Indian democracy and whatever comes out from the process would be what the majority of people from India want. It is India’s internal matter. India is one of the safe havens for persecuted minority communities,” he said.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill which grants Indian citizenship to the non-Muslims of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. As many as 125 lawmakers voted in the favour of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and 99 against it.

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The Bill will confer citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhist, Jains and Parsis — from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who arrived in India before December 31, 2014.

In other words, the CAB paves way for Indian citizenship to lakhs of immigrants, who identify themselves with any of the above-mentioned religions, even if they lacked any document to prove their residency. It simply means that any immigrant who practices Islam would not be eligible for Indian citizenship in the fast track process and will have to take the standard route.

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