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Citizenship act: India will consider persecuted Ahmadis, Shias, says minister

Asks when they said they won't take persecuted Muslims

SAMAA | - Posted: Dec 18, 2019 | Last Updated: 2 years ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Dec 18, 2019 | Last Updated: 2 years ago

India has said it will look into the cases of persecuted Ahmadis and Shias from Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan if they choose to seek shelter in India.

Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri said they will vet the cases separately. He was speaking at Off the Cuff, an event organized by The Print in New Delhi.

India recently passed the Citizenship Amendment Act, a law that prioritises non-Muslim immigrants from three the three Muslim majority countries. The Act fast-tracks applications for immigrants, including Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who arrived in India before 2015 and has been touted as part of Indian PM Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist agenda.

Protests have sprung up across the country against the law.

Explaining why Muslims were excluded from the Act, Puri said the law deals with three theocratic states having a particular religion.

“That is Islamic religion. If you are a persecuted minority in Pakistan…the persecuted minorities were 20% and are down to 2%. Where have they gone? They have gone and sought shelter elsewhere,” he argued.

When an audience member said Muslims are persecuted in Pakistan too and should have been part of the Act, Puri said, “I don’t agree that Muslims are not persecuted in Pakistan. I am the first to agree with you, look at Ahmadiyyas, Shias—have we ever said that we will not take them if they are persecuted?”

But he clarified that the entire Muslim population, which is the majority population in those three countries, cannot be included.

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