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President Ram Nath Kovind addresses a joint session of both the houses ahead of Budget Session, at the Central Hall of Parliament (PTI)
President Ram Nath Kovind addresses a joint session of both the houses ahead of Budget Session, at the Central Hall of Parliament (PTI)

President Kovind's address: "Happy" Parliament passed CAA

  • India has been protesting various acts of discrimination against minorities in Pakistan

NEW DELHI: President Ram Nath Kovind referred to the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act, CAA, in his address to a joint sitting of the Parliament at the start of the Budget Session on Friday, but implicit in the reference was a jibe at Pakistan.

“In the times after Partition, Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi had said that those Hindus and Sikhs who don’t want to stay in Pakistan, can come to India. It is the duty of the government of India to give them a normal life. I am happy that both Houses of Parliament passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Act to fulfill the dreams of those who built our country," Kovind said.

“All of us know that minorities have been facing oppression in Pakistan over the years. The recent incident in Nankana Sahib is a proof. It is our duty to let the whole world know what is really happening in Pakistan. I condemn the oppression of minorities in Pakistan and urge the international community to take notice," Kovind said.

In recent days, India has upped the ante by calling in diplomats from the Pakistani mission to protests the various acts on the neighbouring soil that New Delhi finds discriminatory against the minorities of that country.

Earlier this month, the Indian foreign ministry had summoned a senior Pakistan diplomat to protest incidents of vandalism at the Nankana Sahib Gurudwara in Pakistan. A day later, New Delhi also voiced its disapproval when a Sikh man was killed in Pakistan. Earlier this week, a senior Pakistan high commission official was summoned to the Indian foreign office and a strong demarche issued against the abduction of a Hindu girl from her marriage ceremony in Sindh province. New Delhi also registered a strong objection against the desecration of the Mata Rani Bhatiyani Temple, also in Sindh province.

The Indian offensive follows Islamabad escalating its diplomatic onslaught after New Delhi revoked special a status granted to Kashmir, under its Constitution, to integrate the region more closely with the rest of the country. A key element of Pakistan's rhetoric has been painting India as unsafe for its Muslim and other minorities especially after CAA was passed.

The Indian government has maintained that the CAA is only aimed at fast tracking the citizenship of persecuted minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan and the Muslims of the country will not discriminated in any way if and when it compiles a National Register of Citizens.

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