US urged India to protect the rights of its religious minorities. (Photo Credit: File)
The United States has urged India to ensure rights of religious minorities are protected as per the Constitution and democratic values and said that Washington was "closely following" the developments regarding the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill.
"We are closely following developments regarding the Citizenship Amendment Bill. Respect for religious freedom and equal treatment under the law are fundamental principles of our two democracies," a State Department spokesperson said on Thursday.
"The US urges India to protect the rights of its religious minorities in keeping with India’s Constitution and democratic values," the spokesperson said.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to illegal non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, became act after getting President’s assent on Thursday. However, the controversial bill has triggered a wave of violent protests across the northeast with Assam being the worst hit.
The state of Assam is burning over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, that seeks to grant Indian citizenship to illegal non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The bill, which was already passed by the Lok Sabha, cleared the Rajya Sabha hurdle on Wednesday.
On Thursday, the police shot dead at least two of the Assamese persons who were protesting against the Citizenship Bill. Scores others were also injured in the police firing on protesters in Guwahati. The anti-CAB protesters clashed with the police and set afire several government vehicles.
It is being said that the magnitude of the protests is the same as the violent six-year movement that resulted in the signing of the Assam accord in 1985. The protesters attacked the house of Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. They also pelted stones at the houses of Union minister Rameswar Teli and several other BJP leaders.