New Delhi: Asserting that a US federal commission's critical comments on the Citizenship Amendment Bill are not accurate, India on Tuesday said the American body on international religious freedom has chosen to be guided only by its biases on a matter on which it has no locus standi.
In a statement issued on Monday, the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) alleged that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill enshrines a pathway to citizenship for immigrants that specifically excludes Muslims, setting a legal criterion for citizenship based on religion.
Calling the Bill a "dangerous turn in wrong direction", the commission sought American sanctions against Home Minister Amit Shah if the bill is passed by both houses of Parliament.
"The CAB is a dangerous turn in the wrong direction; it runs counter to India's rich history of secular pluralism and the Indian Constitution, which guarantees equality before the law regardless of faith," it said.
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom's statement on the bill is neither accurate nor warranted, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
Neither the Citizenship Amendment Bill, nor the NRC process seeks to strip citizenship from any Indian citizen of any faith, he said.
"The position articulated by USCIRF is not surprising given its past record. It is, however, regrettable that the body has chosen to be guided only by its prejudices and biases on a matter on which it clearly has little knowledge and no locus standi," Kumar said.
The Lok Sabha passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan after facing religious persecution there, a little past midnight on Monday.