NEW DELHI, Oct 23 - Raising their concern over the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise in Assam, US Congress representatives on Tuesday compelled the United States administration officials to condemn the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB).
At the House foreign affairs sub-committee on Asia and Pacific there were also some substantive questions on the publication of the final draft of the NRC in Assam leaving out 19 lakh persons, reports said. On October 22, US administration officials had to defend Kashmir, and NRC in Assam, according to reports from the United States.
Assistant secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, Robert Destro referring to the NRC exercise observed that the appeals process may disadvantage poor and illiterate populations who lack documentation.
�We are closely following this situation and urge the Government of India to take these issues into consideration,� he added.
Congresswoman from Minnesota Ilhan Omar asked whether the US government was taking up the NRC issue in a stronger way. �Are we waiting for Muslims in Assam to be put in detention,� she asked.
The co-chair of the congressional India caucus also sought a clarification whether there was a bill in the Indian Parliament that seeks to discriminate against Muslims on the issue of citizenship.
Referring to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, Destro acknowledged that it gives a presumption of citizenship to some religious groups and leaves Muslims out. �Thankfully, it is not going through the upper house,� he added.
Destro commented that most religious groups are not discriminated against, but there was pressure to make special rules for Muslims for which the US administration was �calling them out�. He added that �India�s constitution provides for secularism and we want the same to continue.�