NEW DELHI: The Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday said India should immediately repeal the amended Citizenship Act and ensure that any future asylum and refugee policy doesn't discriminate on any grounds, including religion, and complies with international legal standards.
Releasing a 82-page report, 'Shoot the Traitors: Discrimination Against Muslims Under India's New Citizenship Policy,' the human rights body's South Asia Director Meenakhshi Ganguly said the newly amended law violates India's international obligations to prevent deprivation of citizenship on the basis of race, colour, descent, nation or ethnicity.
"India should also discard any plan for a nationwide citizenship verification project until there are public consultations to establish standardised procedures and due process protection to ensure that it does not impose undue hardship on the poor, minority communities, migrant or internally displaced populations, and women," the HRW stated.
The New York-based organisation also said, "India has tried to delink the citizenship (Amendment) Act from citizenship verification processes, but failed to reassure minority communities because of contradictory, discriminatory, and hate-filled claims by BJP leaders."
The government should immediately reverse policies that violate India's international legal obligations, investigate alleged police abuses and protect freedom of speech and assembly.
The discriminatory legislation and policies have spurred violence against Muslims, Ganguly said.
"India's prime minister (Narendra Modi) has appealed for a united fight against COVID-19, but is yet to call for unity in the fight against anti-Muslim violence and discrimination," she said.
In its report, the HRW alleged that government policies have "opened the door for mob violence and police inaction that have instilled fear among Muslims and other minority communities throughout the country".
The report is based on more than 100 interviews with victims of abuse and their families from Delhi and the states of Assam and Uttar Pradesh, as well as with legal experts, academics, activists, and police officials, the international rights body said.
The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which was notified on January 10, grants Indian citizenship to non-Muslim minorities migrated to India from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh till December 31, 2014, following persecution over their faith.