NEW DELHI: A federal panel on religion has urged the United States to weigh sanctions against India’s Home Minister Amit Shah if the south Asian nation adopts legislation to exclude Muslims from a path to citizenship for religious minorities from its neighbors, reports Reuters.
Shah is a close associate of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose Hindu nationalist-led government is seen by critics as pushing an agenda that undermines the secular foundations of India’s democracy.On Tuesday, parliament’s lower house approved the measure covering citizenship for non-Muslim minorities, specifically Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Parsis and Sikhs, who fled Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan before 2015.
The bill has prompted criticism at home and abroad, as it marks the first time India is weighing religion in granting citizenship, although it must first pass the upper house of parliament, where Modi’s party lacks a majority.
The measure goes against India’s constitution, which guarantees legal equality to people of all faiths, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said.
“If the CAB passes in both houses of parliament, the United States government should consider sanctions against the Home Minister and other principal leadership,” the panel said in a statement, referring to the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB).