Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri cites Afghanistan crisis to justify CAA

'India must not only protect our citizens, but also provide refuge to Sikh and Hindu minorities who want to come to India,' Puri said | Photo: PTI

Hardeep Singh Puri, the minister of petroleum and natural gas and minister of housing and urban affairs, on Sunday cited the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, precipitated by the US withdrawal from the country, to justify the Centre’s decision to enact the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.

The law provides citizenship to persecuted non-Muslims who reached India before 2015.

“Recent developments in our volatile neighbourhood & the way Sikhs & Hindus are going through a harrowing time are precisely why it was necessary to enact the Citizenship Amendment Act,” Puri tweeted.

Also read: 7 Afghans killed in Kabul airport chaos: British military

On Sunday, 168 people, 28 of them Afghan nationals including two Sikhs desperate to flee the Taliban, landed in India. The government has promised help to Hindus and Sikhs from Afghanistan, as well as its friends in the country who need help.

“India must not only protect our citizens, but also provide refuge to Sikh and Hindu minorities who want to come to India. We must also provide all possible help to our Afghan brothers and sisters who are looking towards India for assistance,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi was quoted as saying at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee of Security last week.

Passed in December 2019, the CAA clears the path for citizenship for non-Muslim minorities from Muslim-majority countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan if they fled due to religious persecution and entered India before 2015.

Critics believed the law, along with the National Register of Citizens, will be used to target Muslims. The epicentre of the protests was at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, where women of all ages kept vigil for nearly three months till the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown was declared.

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