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Wednesday Dec 11 2019

UN to not comment on India's anti-Muslim bill until legislation is complete

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres. Photo: File

United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres' office on Tuesday held back its comments on the anti-Muslim bill passed by India’s lower house saying the bill was still going through the legislative process.

Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General Farhan Haq, when asked about Guterres position on the bill during a press conference said, “As far as I'm aware, this is legislation that is continuing to go through the legislative process.”

Haq said the UN will not comment on the issue till the “domestic legislative process is being carried out”.

“At the same time,” he added, “You know what our concern are about making sure that all governments pursue non-discriminatory laws.”

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill which was passed by India's Lok Sabha on Monday, provides that Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians fleeing persecution in Muslim-majority Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan can be granted citizenship of India. There were no similar provisions for Muslim refugees.

Read also: India passes religiously discriminatory citizenship bill amid global outcry

The bill sailed through the lower house with 311 votes in favour and 80 against shortly after midnight on Monday.

The bill was strongly condemned by Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Foreign Office on Tuesday. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom said it will propose sanctions against senior members of the Indian political leadership if the bill is enacted as law.

The citizenship bill also sparked protests in India’s northeastern states, where residents were unhappy about an influx of Hindus from neighbouring Bangladesh.