USA: Minnesota hold protest meet against CAA

Saint Paul: Indian Americans belonging to all faiths, along with coalition partners belonging to several civil rights organizations had gathered for a protest event at the Minnesota State Capitol, USA on Monday. Speakers from various backgrounds have provided their concerns about the discriminatory citizenship law.

More than 500 people have attended the protest bearing the cold of Minnesota weather with temperature at -2 degree Celsius.
The program started inside the Minnesota State Capitol Rotunda with singing US and Indian national anthems. Speakers from various backgrounds have provided their concerns about the discriminatory citizenship law.

Indian American Muslim Council

Akheel Mohammed, VP of Minnesota Chapter, Indian American Muslim Council, has spoken in detail about the background of the CAA issue and its negative consequences.

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“We are not against giving citizenship to the 6 groups mentioned in the CAA bill. We wholeheartedly welcome them. We are just against the exclusion of other groups. Our demand is either to include the other groups as well OR repeal the CAA and make it ‘religion-neutral’, ” said Akheel.

“The CAA has a terrible grammatical format. It starts without a Sl. No 1. You can now imagine the attention that’s been given to this Bill. They just brought in 2 days and got it approved without a prior debate or anything,” Akheel added.

Explaining the concept of CAA, he said, “The so-called justification that’s been given are basically two: 1. Partition and 2.Geography. If the Partition is the reason, why did they include Afghanistan,” Akhil questioned.

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“Coming to the second reason – Geography – India shares land borders with 6 countries and maritime borders with 4 – especially Sri Lanka. So the obvious question is: Why aren’t these countries included!”

The Bill amends the Citizenship Act of 1955 to give eligibility for Indian citizenship to illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, and who entered India on or before 31 December 2014. The bill does not mention Muslims.

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