STATE TIMES NEWS New Delhi: Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday hit back at EU parliamentarians who sponsored six resolutions against the citizenship law and the clampdown in Jammu and Kashmir, saying the government considered both issues “internal matters” and that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar would soon speak to the European Union (EU) lawmakers to explain the country’s position. “The government has already explained this is an internal matter… even the Prime Minister has,” Prasad told reporters, adding, “However, since you have asked me this question, let me ask a counter question… have my esteemed friends in the EU parliament sought to raise questions over victimisation of Hindu girls and Sikh granthis in Pakistan? It is time they were objective”. The minister was referring to incidents of violence against members of the Sikh community in Pakistan this month, including the “abduction, forced conversion and marriage of a Sikh girl Jagjit Kaur” and an angry mob pelting stones at the Gurdwara Nankana Sahib in that country. The Gurdwara attack and the killing of a 25-year-old Sikh man a few days later have been picked up by the government to reinforce its pro-CAA argument, with Union Home Minister Amit Shah saying “(we) will not rest till Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Christian refugees from Pakistan are given citizenship”. On Sunday over 150 European Union MPs drafted a resolution against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, or CAA, and said it “marks a dangerous shift in the way citizenship will be determined in India and is set to create the largest statelessness crisis in the world and cause immense human suffering”. The resolution – likely to be tabled during the session of the European Parliament that starts next week in Brussels – comes days after the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked India outside the top 50 in the Democracy Index, mentioning the citizenship law and restrictions in J&K as points of major concern. Government sources reacted to the EU MP’s resolution by saying the law was a matter “entirely internal to India” and had been adopted through “due process and democratic means” after a public debate in both houses of parliament. Meanwhile, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has written to European Parliament President David Maria Sassoli over the resolutions moved against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in that legislature, saying it is inappropriate for one legislature to pass judgement on another and the practice can be misused by vested interests. The Speaker’s letter to Sassoli comes after close to 600 lawmakers in the 751-member European Parliament moved six resolutions against the CAA, saying the enactment of the law marked a dangerous shift in India’s citizenship regime.
“I understand that Joint Motion for Resolution has been introduced in the European Parliament on the Indian Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. This act provides for easier citizenship to those who have been subjected to religious persecution in our immediate neighbourhood,” Birla said in the letter.
“As members of Inter Parliamentary Union, we should respect sovereign processes of fellow legislatures, especially in democracies,” he said.
It is inappropriate for one legislature to pass judgement on another, a practice that can surely be misused by vested interests, Birla said.
“I would urge you to consider the proposed resolution in this light, confident that none of us want to set an unhealthy precedent,” he said.
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