Tuesday, March 5, 2024

US city resolution against CAA cites arrests, police violence on protesters

Photo: Shakeeb KPA/Maktoob

San Francisco, an American city has passed a resolution against India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC), by declaring laws as “to render millions of people among minorities and caste oppressed stateless” on Tuesday.

San Francisco City has become the sixth city in the United States to pass a resolution against India’s controversial citizenship law.

The resolution, passed by a unanimous vote at the Board’s meeting, categorically opposes the CAA, NRC and NPR as “discriminatory to Muslims, caste oppressed, women, indigenous peoples, and the LGBTQ community.”

Given these actions are part of a larger effort by the India’s Hindu nationalist government to persecute and marginalize entire sections of India’s population the resolution also denounces “any other efforts that render vulnerable populations anywhere to become stateless, scapegoated, and targeted for discrimination, violence, and the abrogation of human rights that are universal to one and all.”

The resolution reads: “In August 2019, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a Hindu extremist government published an updated National Register of Citizens (NRC), forcing nearly 33 million people in the northeastern state of Assam to prove with documentary evidence their Indian citizenship or face detention at mass prisons and detention camps that the Indian government is constructing and filling.”

The NRC and CAA will create a massive refugee and health crisis at a time that the United Nations is trying to cope with refugees all over the world, it added.

The US city also criticized the police action against anti-CAA protesters in India and said that protests in India against the CAA and NRC in December 2019 have faced repression including reports that in the state of Uttar Pradesh police fatally fired live ammunition at demonstrators and arrested thousands.

Police have used draconian anti-terrorism, sedition, and other laws against students, activists, and other government critics, Muslim leaders protesting CAA.

Earlier Seattle, Albany, St. Paul, Hamtramck and Cambridge city councils had passed resolutions against CAA and NRC.

CAA claims to help refugees fleeing religious persecution from India’s neighboring countries, but which discriminates against Muslims by excluding millions of Muslims who have come to India to flee wars in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and other Muslim countries. 

The Alliance for Justice and Accountability, American Institute of Islamic History and Culture, San Francisco Interfaith Council, the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and the San Francisco Muslim Community Center worked on this resolution. 

San Francisco is standing on the right side of the history, said Hala Hijazi, commissioner of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. Hijazi, also a board member of the San Francisco Muslim Community Center as well as the San Francisco Interfaith Council, said the city was leading the moral consensus in the global outcry against the legislation.

“When genocidal campaigns begin, one important intervention is the international condemnation, and the Bay Area community feels a deep sense of solidarity with their elected, as the time to stand against the Indian government’s Islamophobic policies is now,” she added.

“These genocidal projects happen in the shadows and this resolution highlights the significance of standing up for South Asian minorities, Muslims, and caste oppressed communities,” said Sharmin Hossain of Equality Labs.

“Genocide Watch, an independent body that is widely considered to have expertise in the prediction of genocide in conflict-ridden areas around the world, has issued two separate genocide alerts for the states of Assam and Kashmir,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC).

“In this context, San Francisco’s decision to stand with oppressed minorities in India sends a clear message on where people of conscience around the world stand in regards to the deepening crisis in India. Today’s development will resonate across the US and beyond,” added Mr. Khan.

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