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US Panel on Religious Freedom Says, CAA will cause Muslims to face exclusion

“Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is a done deal. It’s not going to change. The Prime Minister has also made it clear that India will not budge an inch on this issue,” said an official source in response to the USCIRF’s comments on the CAA and the NRC.

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Shaheen Bagh

New Delhi: Days before United States President Donald Trump is due in India, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released a fact sheet on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

“There are serious concerns that the CAA serves as a protective measure for non-Muslims in case of exclusion from a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC),” the USCIRF says. “This purpose is evident from ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politicians’ rhetoric. With the CAA in place, Muslims would primarily bear the punitive consequences of exclusion from the National Register of Citizens (NRC) which could include ‘statelessness, deportation, or prolonged detention,’ according to three United Nations Special Rapporteurs.”

However, official sources in New Delhi said the Citizenship Amendment Act was an internal matter that would stay. “Citizenship Amendment Act is a done deal. It’s not going to change. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also made it clear that India will not budge an inch on this issue,” said the source in response to USCIRF’s comments on the CAA and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

On the possibilities that US President Donald Trump might raise uncomfortable issues like mediation during visit, an official spokesperson said, “On all these issues our position is well known to the U.S. side. Time and again we have communicated with them — the State Department, the White House and the Congress — about our sensitivities. Our position is well known and we hope that things will go on smoothly during the visit. And, we don’t see any such problem.”

The report raised serious concerns about comments from various BJP leaders about the party’s intention to create a new, exclusively Hindu country in India.

The USCIRF report also highlighted comments from various members of the ruling BJP who expressed plans to exclude Muslims from India.

“Hindutva political rhetoric questions the legitimacy of Muslims’ Indian citizenship and perpetuates the further marginalisation of this faith community. The Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath, for example, promised in 2005 to cleanse India of other religions, calling this the ‘century of Hindutva’,” said the USCIRF.

The USCIRF report also cited extensively from concerns expressed by the UN reports and observations that have described the controversial new citizenship law as biased against the minority Muslim community of India.

A Wednesday tweet from the USCIRF— which is an independent bi-partisan commission established by the U.S. Congress — calls the CAA “a significant downward turn in religious freedom” in India.

The USCIRF fact sheet says of the CAA: “The law’s passage sparked large-scale protests across the country that provoked a harsh and deadly crackdown by police forces.”

“A wide variety of political parties, non-governmental organisations (NGO), and religious groups also submitted petitions to the Supreme Court of India challenging the CAA’s constitutionality, arguing that it, in particular, violates Section 14 (equality before the law) of the Indian Constitution… Alongside the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights, the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, and the House Foreign Affairs Committee similarly expressed their concern about the law,” the fact sheet says. There is also a reference to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s comments. He is quoted as saying the government would “selectively throw out all infiltrators.”

On Friday morning, USCIRF tweeted out a fact sheet on religious freedom in China, saying, “USCIRF’s new fact sheet on China’s regulation of religious groups provides a brief overview of the new regulation and explains why it marks a significant escalation in the Chinese government’s ongoing crackdown on religious freedom.”

https://twitter.com/USCIRF/status/1230525623015288832?s=20

India is a Tier 2 country in terms of religious freedom (the second poorest ranking group) and China is a Tier 1 ‘Country of Particular Concern’ (the category that fares poorest in terms of religious freedoms) as per current U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) rankings.

Cities

3 patients in Delhi Cancer Institute test Covid-19 positive

The hospital is not for COVID-19 treatment and is finding the source of the infection.

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New Delhi, April 9 : After 21 staffers of the Delhi State Cancer Institute, three patients admitted to the hospital also tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday.

After several staff members tested positive, the hospital decided to test the patients as well.

According to the administration, at least three patients have been tested positive so far, while reports of others are awaited.

The hospital is not for COVID-19 treatment and is finding the source of the infection.

So far, total 21 staff, including three doctors, one sanitation worker and 17 nursing staff have been tested positive, with the hospital saying most of the staff tested positive were asymptomatic.

Delhi has so far reported 720 coronavirus cases.

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India

India slams China for raking up Kashmir at United Nations

On China’s part, the spokesman said Ambassador Zhang as the Security Council president, had raised the issue at Pakistan’s behest in March.

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New Delhi, April 10 : The government on Thursday slammed China at the United Nations for raking up India’s internal matters and its failure to recognize Pakistan’s cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.

A spokesman for the Chinese mission to the UN had earlier said that the “question of Kashmir remains high on the Security Council’s agenda”.

Beijing’s position on Indian Kashmir remains unchanged, he said adding that it is a “dispute left from history, and should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the charter of the United Nations, Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements. China opposes any unilateral actions that complicate the situation”.

On China’s part, the spokesman said Ambassador Zhang as the Security Council president, had raised the issue at Pakistan’s behest in March.

In response to queries, the ministry of external affairs, Anurag Srivastava said that India rejects the reference to Jammu and Kashmir in a statement made by the spokesperson of the Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations.

“China is well aware of India’s consistent position on this issue. The Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir has been, is and shall continue to be an integral part of India. Issues related to J&K are internal matter to India,” he said.

The spokesperson said that the government’s expectation is that other countries, including “China, would refrain from commenting on matters that are internal affairs of India and respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We also expect China to recognise and condemn the scourge of cross-border terrorism that affect the lives of the people of India, including in J&K”.

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India

Provide ration to needy Pakistan displaced families: Ashok Gehlot

Gehlot further directed that all such needy Pak displaced families, who do not come in the ambit of any social security scheme, should be provided ration.

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Ashok Gehlot

Jaipur, April 10 : Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the state government will provide ration to the families displaced from Pakistan who are now residing in any district of the state.

Gehlot took this decision in view of a letter from the Seemant Lok Sangathan President Hindu Singh Sodha and directed the officials to ensure that the Pak displaced families get ration on time.

Sodha had apprised Chief Minister through his letter that approximately 6,000 Pak displaced families are residing in various districts in the state and many of these needy families had faced scarcity of ration due to lockdown.

According to the reports sent by the collectors, 500 Pak displaced families reside in Jamdoli, Govindpura and Mangyawas of Jaipur. These families are in contact with the district administration and are being distributed ration.

Similarly, in Jodhpur, 618 Pak displaced and needy families are being provided ration. Additional District Collector (II) Mahipal Kumar had been directed to be in touch with Sodha and make sure that needy families were extended all support.

As per the report, there are around 200 Pak displaced families in Sheo and Chauhatan Panchayat Samiti in Barmer district, 92 families in Pali and 93 families residing in Pugal and Bajju tehsil of Bikaner district. All these families were being provided ration items as per the demand.

Besides these districts, Pak displaced families were also residing in Jaisalmer, Jalore and Sirohi districts and are being met with their all food-related requirements and the eligible families are being provided with the financial assistance.

Gehlot further directed that all such needy Pak displaced families, who do not come in the ambit of any social security scheme, should be provided ration.

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