By Agnes Szucs
BRUSSELS (AA) - The European Parliament will debate on Wednesday India’s citizenship law introducing discriminatory measures against Muslims.
A day later, members of the parliament will vote on a resolution that condemns the controversial law, calls the Indian government to stop the discrimination and urges the EU’s foreign service to put pressure on New Delhi.
India has been witnessing massive protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which guarantees citizenship to non-Muslims of three neighboring countries Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.
Critics see the new law as unconstitutional and discriminating against Muslims.
The European Parliament’s motion for resolution “expresses deep concerns at the fact that India has created the legal grounds to strip millions of Muslims of fundamental rights”, which might “render many Muslim citizens stateless” by the combination of the CAA and the National Register of Citizens.
The document urges the EU and its member states to raise the topic of the controversial law during their trade negotiations with India and put a human rights clause in the agreements.
The resolution if adopted on Thursday is not legally binding. However, the opinion of the directly elected representatives of the European citizens has a symbolic power and may influence the agenda.
Attacks on minorities, especially Muslims, have risen sharply across India in the last few years under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who won his second term last year.
In a carefully worded reaction, an Indian official who asked not to be named quoted by the Press Trust of India, said he hoped the "sponsors and supporters" of the resolutions will engage with the government "to get a full and accurate assessment of facts before they proceed further".
"Every society that fashions a pathway to naturalization contemplates both a context and criteria. This is not discrimination. In fact, European societies have followed the same approach," the official added.
* Riyaz ul Khaliq contributed to this report from Ankara