"Religion should never be the criterion for citizenship of a country:" ecumenical forum in Karnataka calls on Indian government

Published 15 January 2020  |  

Following the adoption of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) on December 12, 2019, many protests are being held against the pro-Hindu government to revoke the law.

The law that provides citizenship for Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Christian and Parsi refugees from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, intentionally omits Muslims from the illegal immigrants list.

On January 9, an ecumenical forum in Karnataka that represents all the Christian denominations in the state, called on to the government of India. According to the appeal, the Christian group wants the government to grant citizenship to illegal immigrants based only on their merit and not on their religious identity.

The ecumenical forum highlighted the danger and the negative impact the law can have on the Muslim minorities in the country. For the forum, "Religion should never be the criterion for citizenship of a country. Nor is violence a solution when there is a difference of opinion."

Instead, the forum believes that "It is necessary that the Government dialogues [sic] with those opposing the Act, and come to an agreement about the way forward with justice, equity and fairness. There is no harm in backtracking: changing course if this is necessary for the good of the country and our people."

According to Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore, president of the Karnataka United Christian Forum for Human Rights, if Indian citizenship is provided based on the merit of the case, it would bring justice and promote equality to all illegal immigrants.

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