As many as 626 of 751 members of the European Union parliament have moved six resolutions on the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act and Kashmir lockdown, their greatest concern arising over the likelihood of the controversial citizenship law creating the “largest statelessness crisis in the world”
BRUSSELS — India is facing a major diplomatic backlash from the European Union (EU) parliament on the Citizenship Amendment Act and the clampdown on Jammu and Kashmir ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Brussels for the India-EU summit in March.
As many as 600 of 751 members of the European Union parliament have moved six resolutions on both the issues, their greatest concern arising over the likelihood of the controversial citizenship law creating the “largest statelessness crisis in the world”.
The six groups of European Union parliamentarians who moved the resolutions are the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats with 154 members; the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) with 182 members; European United Left and Nordic Green Left with 41 members; Greens/European Free Alliance with 75 members; Conservatives and Reformists with 66 members; and the Renew Europe Group with 108 members.
While the resolution moved by the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats denounced “the fact that India has incorporated religious criteria into its naturalisation and refugee policies”, the one by the European People’s Party expressed concern over “the CAA and the wide range of negative consequences that it might have for India’s international image and internal stability”.
Over 150 lawmakers had earlier demanded that the European Union insist on a “strong human rights clause with an effective implementation and suspension mechanism” during any trade agreement with India. The resolutions — expected to be tabled during the plenary session of the European Parliament starting in Brussels next week — come days after the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked India 10 places lower in the Democracy Index over the CAA and the Jammu and Kashmir clampdown.
The European Union lawmakers were just as critical of the BJP government’s handling of the Jammu and Kashmir situation, and more so of the invite it had extended to a few of their colleagues last October. “We denounce the use of this trip to legitimise PM Modi’s nationalist agenda and the human rights violations carried out under his authority,” the European Free Alliance group said.
The Nordic Green Left, on the other hand, condemned the political detentions and Internet blackout imposed on Kashmir as well as the scrapping of its special status on August 5.
The diplomatic offensive by the EU against India comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Brussels for the India-EU summit in March.
India Remains Nonplussed
However, the Indian government has sought to take the unprecedented move by EU lawmakers in its stride.
IANS quoted the Ministry of External Affairs saying the government took note of the EU move immediately and will withstand the EU pressure by reminding its members that the CAA is “an internal matter” of India.
“Moreover, this legislation has been adopted by due process and through democratic means after a public debate in both Houses of Parliament,” a source said.
The government, sources said, is going to argue that every society takes into consideration a context and criteria to formulate its own process for naturalisation. European countries have themselves followed the same approach, an official pointed out. “This is not discrimination,” he added, according to IANS.
New Delhi is hoping that the sponsors and supporters of the draft in EU will engage with it to get a “full and accurate assessment” of the facts before they proceed further. “As fellow democracies, the EU Parliament should not take actions that call into question the rights and authority of democratically elected legislatures in other regions of the world,” a senior official said, according to IANS.