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28 Jan, 2020 01:21

‘No scope for outside interference’: India tells Europe to mind its own business as MEPs consider anti-citizenship law resolutions

‘No scope for outside interference’: India tells Europe to mind its own business as MEPs consider anti-citizenship law resolutions

India is more than capable of handling its own matters and any outside meddling in its affairs is inappropriate and uncalled-for, India’s VP has said as the European Parliament prepares to debate India’s citizenship law.

Vice President Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu dismissed all attempts by foreign powers to lecture New Delhi on its own internal policy at an event on Monday. Calling such efforts “totally uncalled for and unwarranted,” Naidu said that misconceptions about the bill are rooted in “inadequate knowledge and insufficient understanding” of the law.

Naidu said that many in the West had not given the nascent democracy much of a chance back in 1947, when India gained independence from Britain, adding that the Indian nation has proved the sceptics wrong.

"While we are capable of addressing our internal matters as evidenced over the last 70 years, let others do so in their respective domains"

In an apparent swipe at critics of the way the PM Narendra Modi’s government has handled the mass protests that gripped the country after the citizenship amendment law (CAA) was passed in December, Naidu said that there is enough “space” within the Indian democracy for “expressing differences and dissents whenever warranted.”

Though Naidu did not name those who have been poking their noses in India’s affairs, the rebuke was likely aimed at the European Parliament, one of the key EU bodies representing people living in the bloc’s 28 member-states.

MEPs are set to debate six resolutions on the citizenship law on Wednesday, from which five are opposing the bill, and one backs the legislation itself but calls for a probe into “excessive use of force by security forces” against protesters.

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One of the resolutions that has enlisted the support of the 751-member body’s 559 members describes the law as the “way citizenship will be determined in India and is set to create the largest statelessness crisis in the world and cause immense human suffering.”

New Delhi has repeatedly denied allegations that the law is discriminatory towards Muslims, insisting that it is purely humanitarian in nature and fast-tracks citizenship to oppressed minorities from three neighboring Muslim-majority countries.

Meanwhile, the European Commission’s delegation to India appeared to distance itself from what is expected to become a heated MEP debate.

“The European Parliament is an independent institution, sovereign in the organization of its work and in its deliberations,” India’s Mint newspaper quoted a person familiar with the issue as saying on Monday, who added that “opinions expressed by the European Parliament and its members do not represent the official position” of the EU.

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