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Baloch Hindu outfit in SC: CAA essential for minorities

Balochistan Hindu Panchayat, an organization working for the protection of those who fled Pakistan, on Wednesday defended the Citizenship Amendment Act before the Supreme Court.

The organization said the law was essential to protect minorities in the three neighboring countries and it is not adverse to the principle of secularism.

In an application, the Delhi-based NGO contended the core the Act, passed in December, ensures well-being of minorities who faced religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

“India has not discriminated or set aside people from any particular community here. The Act does not state that the Muslims will not be granted citizenship. Because Pakistan did not honour the Nehru-Liaquat Agreement, the government made a reasonable classification to prefer the communities of Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Christian, and Buddhist,” said the application.

The applicant contends the amendment did not say if a Muslim immigrant were to apply for citizenship, then it would not be considered.

The application emphasized that Muslims were neither minorities nor do they face religious persecution because of their religion. It contended CAA was based upon the principle of protecting the minorities, as the Constitution from Articles 29 to 30 provided for special treatment and protection to the minorities, which was not available to them in the Muslim majority countries.

“The right to avail citizenship is equally applicable for the majority of these three countries like other foreigners; It is only for the minorities of these three countries, because of their being a persecuted class, their application for citizenship is being fast-tracked under the present amendment,” said the application.

It also challenged the maintainability of petitions under Article 32 as none of the petitioners was aggrieved by the legislation.

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