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 Full text 
Wednesday, 29 January 2020 - Brussels Provisional edition

India's Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 (debate)

  Dinesh Dhamija, on behalf of the Renew Group. – Madam President, India takes in persecuted refugees from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh – and they’re the bad guys? No, they’re the good guys. They’ve taken in the refugees.

This motion does not censure any of those three Muslim countries for having created this refugee crisis. The UN Minorities Declaration of 1992 states that minorities can be classified as national, ethnic, religious, linguistic or cultural. This act, the CAA, is just focused on persecuted religious minorities seeking refuge in India. Thus, Muslims coming from those three Muslim countries cannot be considered minorities. Muslims do have a right to become Indian citizens by the 1955 act, of course. The CAA allows Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Parsis and Sikhs to become citizens after six years of living in India. These are persecuted religious minorities.

There are many things wrong with our motion today, but I’ll just give you four: Rohingyas, Tamils, police violence and the National Register of Citizens. Rohingyas are a religious Muslim minority leaving Myanmar for Bangladesh. When they come from Bangladesh to India they become economic migrants because they’re coming from a majority Muslim state. Violence and brutality of the police: let me inform you that 57 policemen had bullet wounds in a demonstration in Lucknow. Tamils are an ethnic minority, not a religious minority. The National Register of Citizens is not even mentioned in the CAA. Are we saying that India, or any other country for that matter, is not allowed to document the people living inside its boundaries?

The CAA is in front of the Supreme Court and thus should be considered sub judice. The real reason for this motion has come before us: the India-EU summit. Should we not be talking to the Indians rather than criticising them and playing neo—colonial politics. We must have a debate but we must also have a summit.

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