San Francisco has become the sixth city in the United States to censure the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens, media reported on Wednesday.
In its city council meet on Tuesday, the Alliance for Justice and Accountability along with other local San Francisco organisations worked on a resolution to declare CAA and NRC as an act “to render millions of people among minorities and caste oppressed stateless”. American Institute of Islamic History and Culture, San Francisco Interfaith Council, the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and the San Francisco Muslim Community Center were part of this.
Seattle, Albany, Saint Paul, Hamtramck and Cambridge have also passed similar resolutions, calling CAA and NRC “exclusionary and bigoted”.
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.
The Alliance for Justice and Accountability said that the use of religion as a criterion for granting citizenship is a “flagrant violation of all norms of secular democracies”, adding that it was inconsistent with India’s Constitution that guarantees equality before the law for people of all faiths.
“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 the Equality Labs, a human rights start-up.
She added that thousands of organisers across the country have called for the resolution to be amplified to ensure it is an example for cities across the US to not stand on the “side of genocide”.
CAA and NRC
The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the condition that they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014.
Around 70 people were killed in protests that erupted across the country after the Act was passed. These stopped in March after the nationwide lockdown was in place to tackle the coronavirus crisis.
The National Register of Citizens is a proposed nationwide exercise to identify undocumented immigrants. One such exercise, carried out in Assam last year, resulted in the exclusion of 19 lakh people. Critics fear that the CAA when used in conjunction with a proposed National Register of Indian Citizens will allow the government to force many Muslims to prove their citizenship.