Washington: Key provisions of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which came into law this year may violate certain provisions of India’s Constitution, a report issued by an independent research wing of the US Congress has claimed.

CAA, which amends India’s 1955 Citizenship Act, came into force in March this year.

“The CAA’s key provisions — allowing immigrants of six religions from three countries a path to citizenship while excluding Muslims — may violate certain Articles of the Indian Constitution,” said a brief ‘In Focus’ report of Congressional Research Service (CRS).

CRS is an independent research wing of the US Congress that prepares reports on issues of interest to the members of Congress so that they can make informed decisions. CRS reports are not considered to be an official report of views of the Congress.

The Indian government and other proponents of the CAA have asserted that the aim is purely humanitarian.

India has also trashed the criticism against the CAA and said “vote-bank politics” should not determine views about a “laudable initiative” to help those in distress.

Opponents of the act warn that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are pursuing a Hindu majoritarian, anti-Muslim agenda that threatens India’s status as an officially secular republic and violates international human rights norms and obligations, the report said.

“In tandem with a National Register of Citizens (NRC) planned by the federal government, the CAA may threaten the rights of India’s large Muslim minority of roughly 200 million,” alleged the three-page report.

CRS report informs the members of the Congress that the lead US diplomat for the region in 2019 expressed “genuine concern” about “India’s trajectory” and that issues such as the CAA “not detract from India’s ability… to stand with us in trying to promote, again, this free and open Indo-Pacific.”

“Some Members of Congress have expressed related concerns, including in the 118th Congress, where House Resolution 542 would condemn human rights violations and violations of international religious freedom in India, and Senate Resolution 424, which seeks “a swift end to the persecution of, and violence against, religious minorities and human rights defenders in India,” and which urges New Delhi to amend “discriminatory” laws such as the CAA,” said the report.

At an election rally in West Bengal, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh defended CAA and asserted that no one can stop its implementation.

The CAA, he said, is not meant to take away anyone’s citizenship, but is a law for granting Indian citizenship to people displaced from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan on religious grounds.

The Centre had in March implemented the CAA, notifying the rules four years after the law was passed by Parliament to fast-track citizenship for undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who came to India before December 31, 2014.

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal has also emphasised that “The CAA is about giving citizenship, not about taking away citizenship. It addresses the issue of statelessness, provides human dignity and supports human rights.”

Jaiswal further asserted that the law is an internal matter of India. -(PTI)