‘Why it was necessary to enact Citizenship Act’: Union Minister on evacuations in Afghanistan

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Updated: August 23, 2021 8:03 AM

Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Sunday cited the evacuations in Afghanistan to back the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act.

Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Sunday cited the evacuations in Afghanistan to back the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act.

Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Sunday cited the evacuations in Afghanistan to back the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act. “Recent developments in our volatile neighbourhood and the way Sikhs and Hindus are going through a harrowing time are precisely why it was necessary to enact the Citizenship Amendment Act,” he said in a tweet. 

India on Sunday evacuated 392 people, including two Afghan lawmakers, in three different flights as part of its mission to bring back Indians and Afghan partners from Kabul amid a scramble by various nations to rescue their citizens from the war-ravaged country in the wake of deteriorating security situation and increasing Taliban hostilities.

The government has promised help to Hindus and Sikhs from Afghanistan, as well as its friends in the country who need help.

“India must not only protect our citizens, but also provide refuge to Sikh and Hindu minorities who want to come to India. We must also provide all possible help to our Afghan brothers and sisters who are looking towards India for assistance,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi was quoted as saying at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee of Security last week.

Passed in December 2019, the Citizenship Amendment Act provides for citizenship for non-Muslim minorities from Muslim-majority countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan if they fled due to religious persecution and entered India before 2015.

The passage of the Act led to pan-India protests with Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh being its epicentre where people of different age groups demonstrated sit-in for almost three months before the COVID pandemic hit the country and a nationwide lockdown was announced in March 2020.

Earlier this month, during the recently concluded Monsoon Session of the Parliament, Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai told the Rajya Sabha there is no proposal under consideration of the government for any further amendment of the Citizenship Act.

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