MEA responds to US concerns over CAA implementation

Regarding the US State Department’s statement, the MEA characterized it as misplaced, misinformed, and unwarranted. India’s constitution guarantees freedom of religion to all its citizens, and there are no grounds for concern regarding the treatment of minorities.

| Updated: 15 March, 2024 4:38 pm IST
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)

NEW DELHI: India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has issued a robust response to recent comments made by the United States regarding the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA). The US State Department had expressed concerns and stated that they are closely monitoring the implementation of the CAA in India.

Addressing the weekly media briefing MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said, “The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA) is an internal matter of India and is in keeping with India’s inclusive traditions and our long-standing commitment to human rights. The Act grants a haven to persecuted minorities belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian communities from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh who have entered India on or before 31st Dec 2014. 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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In its response, the MEA emphasized that the CAA is an internal matter of India, aligning with the country’s inclusive traditions and longstanding commitment to human rights. Regarding the US State Department’s statement, the MEA characterized it as misplaced, misinformed, and unwarranted. India’s constitution guarantees freedom of religion to all its citizens, and there are no grounds for concern regarding the treatment of minorities. “As regards the U.S. State Department’s statement on the implementation of CAA, we are of the view that it is misplaced, misinformed, and unwarranted. ” It said.

Further, MEA cautioned against allowing vote bank politics to influence perceptions of the CAA, emphasizing the initiative’s intent to assist those in distress. The MEA underscored the importance of partners and well-wishers of India acknowledging the positive intent behind the CAA, rather than offering criticisms based on limited understanding. The US State Department spokesperson, Matthew Miller, had expressed concerns about the notification of the CAA and emphasised the importance of religious freedom and equal treatment under the law for all communities.

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The US stated that it would closely monitor how India implements the Act. The CAA, enacted by the Narendra Modi government and ratified by Parliament in 2019, aims to expedite Indian citizenship for persecuted migrants from neighbouring countries. While critics have raised concerns about the Act’s exclusion of Muslims, the Indian government has reiterated that Indian Muslims need not worry, as the CAA does not impact their citizenship.

The implementation of the CAA has sparked protests across India, with some alleging that the Act violates the fundamental right to equality enshrined in the Constitution. Lastly, MEA’s response reaffirms India’s commitment to its internal policies and calls for a nuanced understanding of the CAA’s objectives from international partners. It concludes, “Lectures by those who have a limited understanding of India’s pluralistic traditions and the region’s post-Partition history are best not attempted.”

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