DESPARDES — Cambridge in Massachusetts state has become the second city in the United States after Seattle to pass a resolution against a controversial citizenship law pushed by India’s Hindu nationalist government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The city which houses the world-renowned Harvard University and Massachusetts Institutes of Technology passed a unanimous resolution on Tuesday, calling upon the Indian Parliament to “uphold” the country’s secular constitution by repealing the law and stopping a proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC).
“It has come to the attention of the city council that on December 11, 2019, the Indian Parliament passed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which for the first time uses religion as a criterion for Indian citizenship,” the resolution said.
The resolution declared that “Modi government’s racist and repressive policies” were inconsistent with the values of the city, “which welcomes South Asian communities of all castes and religions”.
The city council urged its congressional delegation to support legislation in the US Congress censuring India for enacting such policies.
The move came a week after Seattle, one of the most powerful city councils in the US, passed a similar resolution, urging India to repeal the CAA and stop the NRC.
The CAA fast-tracks Indian nationality for non-Muslim minorities from Muslim-majority Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who came to India before 2015. Critics have said it violates India’s secular constitution and have challenged it in the Supreme Court. Last week, in a rare public observation by a pro-India Washington insider, South Asia analyst Husain Haqqani criticized Modi Modi govt saying it has left everyone disappointed. “First, western liberals, and now conservatives: Modi govt has left everyone disappointed”.
Earlier, Noam Chomsky’s, the famed social critic and political activist dubbed the developments in India as symptoms of fascism. “What we’re seeing in India is symptoms of fascism.
The CAA and NRC have triggered fears of marginalization and disenfranchisement among India’s Muslim minority, who form nearly 20 percent of the country’s 1.3 billion population.
Meanwhile, weeks before the planned India visit of President Donald Trump to India, four influential US senators have raised the issue of restrictions on digital communication in occupied Kashmir and urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to take a serious note.
Senators Lindsey Graham, Todd Young, Chris Van Hollen and Dick Durbin stated that Modi’s steps “threaten the rights of certain religious minorities and the secular character of the state.”
The senators wrote to Pompeo, raising their concerns on Kashmir restrictions and also over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA that triggered widespread protests. The senators include two each from among the Democrats and Republicans. Lindsey Graham is very close to Trump.
Donald Trump and wife Melania Trump will arrive in India on a two-day high-profile visit on February 24.