India whacks Dr Mahathir for remarks on its citizenship law
(MMO) – The Indian government has called Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s recent remarks about its newly-passed Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) “factually inaccurate”.
The Indian External Affairs Ministry (MEA) said its law is meant to expedite naturalised citizenship for those it described as persecuted minorities from three countries.
“The Act does not impact in any manner on the status of any citizen of India, or deprive any Indian of any faith of her or his citizenship,” the Indian ministry said in a statement.
It said Malaysia should refrain from commenting on India’s internal matters without proper facts.
Dr Mahathir called the CAA discriminatory against Muslims in remarks made at the inaugural Kuala Lumpur Summit ― an international gathering of Muslim world leaders to discuss problems plaguing their world.
He questioned the necessity for the amendment, noting that Indian citizens of all faiths have lived alongside one another since the country’s independence in 1948, adding that the revision aimed to remove the Muslim population from the republic.
Dr Mahathir also said that such a law would be unthinkable in multiracial, multireligious Malaysia as there would be chaos in the streets.
India’s Parliament passed the amendment to its Citizenship Act 1955 on December 11, providing citizenship for non-Muslim religious minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan fleeing persecution amid mass protests within its borders that resulted in nine deaths.
Critics claimed the amendment is a move by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party to sideline its 200 million Muslim citizens in an effort to make India more Hindu.