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Minnesota City Denounces India for its Controversial Citizenship Laws

Minnesota City Denounces India for its Controversial Citizenship Laws

St. Paul City Council has approved a measure denouncing India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for its “Islamophobic” and “exclusionary ideology.” The council also declared their opposition to India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), and the National Registry of Citizens (NRC). 

The Sahan Journal reported on May 20 that “the symbolic resolution” passed on a 5-0 vote with Council President Amy Brendmoen and Council Member Chris Tolbert abstaining. “Both cited the complex nature of political affairs in India and the amount of concern they heard from members of the local Indian American community,” the report said, and added that both Brendmoen and Tolbert said they supported council’s “shared values” that oppose discrimination against religious minorities.

The vote was delayed by two weeks. 

The Sahan Journal report said that the resolution was supported by the Minnesota chapter of the Council on Islamic Relations, World Without Genocide at Mitchell Hamline School of Law and Amnesty International.

But it drew opposition from groups like the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), the India Association of Minnesota and the Alliance for Persecuted Peoples Worldwide. 

The HAF launched a letter writing campaign in response to what it called “a deeply flawed and error-laden resolution.” 

However, the Minnesota city is not the first one to pass a resolution against Modi and his party’s policies. 

In February, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed a resolution condemning the CAA and the NRC. 

The resolution, introduced by Indian American City Council member Kshama Sawant, urged the Parliament of India to uphold the Indian Constitution by repealing the CAA, and to stop the NRC, and take steps towards helping refugees. 

Sawant told India Abroad at the time that the resolution “expresses solidarity with Seattle’s South Asian community regardless of religion and caste, while reaffirming Seattle as a welcoming city.”

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While introducing the resolution, Sawant said that CAA and NRC are the policies of the far-right government. She said Seattle’s South Asian community had requested that the city council speak out on this issue, “because, it is the duty of ordinary people to oppose the dangerous rise of the far-right everywhere in the world.”

A week after the Seattle resolution was passed, the Cambridge City Council approved a similar measure against the CAA and NRC, calling upon the Indian Parliament to “uphold” the country’s secular constitution by repealing the law. 

“It has come to the attention of the city council that on December 11, 2019, the Indian Parliament passed the Citizenship Amendment Act, which for the first time uses religion as a criterion for Indian citizenship,” the resolution said.

Both the Seattle and Cambridge resolutions were passed ahead of President Donald Trump’s maiden visit to India on Feb. 24.

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