Dubai: Pakistani Hindu parliamentarians have lambasted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for imposing the new Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which discriminates against Muslims.
They said the Modi’s action is not only against the teachings of Hinduism but also interfaith harmony in India.
Pakistan’s National Assembly consists of 10 lawmakers from the minorities including seven Hindus and three Christians. According to Pakistan Hindu Council there are more than 8 million Hindus currently living Pakistan.
Gulf News spoke to two top Pakistani Hindu parliamentarians who condemned the controversial CAA bill which has led to antigovernment protests all over India.
Engineer Jai Parkash Luhana, Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan, said: “I strongly condemn the fascist mindset of Modi for citizenship legislation.”
Luhana, who belongs to the ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), said the CAA is a sheer human rights violation. “Hinduism promotes interfaith harmony and the law in my opinion is against the teachings of Hinduism. The bill has damaged the preaching of Hinduism,” he added.
He said the entire Hindu community in Pakistan and the parliamentarians are shocked at it. “Minorities in Pakistan enjoy equal rights although it is an Islamic State and I believe that by introducing this law, Modi has washed the vision of (Mahatama) Gandhi,” he said.
Unlike Modi, he said, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has a broader vision for minorities. “The Kartarpur Corridor opening by Imran for Sikhs and Hindus from across the world is a great example of tolerance and interfaith.”
Speaking to Gulf News, Kheeal Das Kohistani, another Pakistani Hindu Members of the National Assembly of Pakistan, said India had always been portrayed as being a country of liberals but with Modi in the government, its policy is now against interfaith harmony and anti-Pakistan.
“He (Modi) is basically working on the lines of RSS, and consistently aggravating hatred and violating human rights,” he said.
Kheeal Das who belongs to the Opposition political party — Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz — said the Citizenship Amendment Bill is just too low for India as it is not only anti-Muslims but against basic human rights to practice the religion of choice. He called on the United Nations to intervene and take notice of the what he called ‘hatred bill.’.
“We, the Hindu community of Pakistan will never support this hatred bill as we believe in humanity first. We do not support racism as the Hindus believe in respect for all,” he added.
“It is a misconception that the Hindus living in Pakistan will ever go to India to take refuge or claim citizenship because we are true Pakistanis and we love Pakistan and will never leave it,” Kohistani made it clear.
He said Pakistan is moving forward to protect the rights of minorities. “We are also in the process of tabling a bill in the parliament against forced conversion of minorities.
What is the issue?
Citing the harassment of minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, the Indian parliament recently amended its citizenship law, offering citizenship rights to Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Parsi and Jain communities migrating from these countries.
Citizenship Amendment Act is a newly passed law that applies to Hindus, Christians and other religious minorities who are in India illegally from Muslim-majority Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. They can apply for citizenship under a religious persecution clause.
The law, however, does not include Muslim refugees or migrants — in what critics are calling a clear indication of the changing politics in secular India. India has a Hindu population but is also home to 200 million Muslims and other minorities.
This amendment of the Citizenship Act, 1955 which requires the applicant (regardless of religion or country of origin) to have resided in India for 11 of the previous 14 years. The amendment passed this year relaxes this requirement from 11 years to six years, but for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians from the three nations.