More than 150 European Union lawmakers have drafted a five-page resolution against the citizenship law, contending that it "marks a dangerous shift in 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", reports NDTV.
Accusing the government of "discriminating against, harassing and prosecuting national and religious minorities and silencing any opposition, human rights groups... and journalists critical of the government", they asked the EU to insist on a "strong human rights clause with an effective implementation and suspension mechanism" during any trade agreement.
The resolution -- which is expected to be tabled during the plenary session of the European Parliament starting in Brussels next week -- comes days after the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked India 10 places lower in the Democracy Index, mentioning the citizenship law and the restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir after the government ended its special status.
The lawmakers expressed solidarity with the January 7 protests and asked the government to stop criminalising the protests and negotiate with the protesters.
In the resolution, the lawmakers expressed "deep concern" that India has "created the legal grounds to strip millions of Muslims of the fundamental right of equal access to citizenship; is concerned that the citizenship law could be used, along with the National Register of Citizens, to render many Muslim citizens stateless".
The citizenship law, the lawmakers contended, also violates India's international obligations on citizenship and the Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that 'Everyone has the right to a nationality' and that 'No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality'.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has called the citizenship law 'fundamentally discriminatory', they pointed out.
The citizenship law provides for citizenship for non-Muslim minorities from Muslim-majority countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan if they fled religious persecution and entered India before 2015. Critics believe the law, along with the NRC, will be used to target Muslims.
In their resolution, the EU lawmakers also mentioned the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and called the EU and its member states to promote the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir.
In October and January, two groups of lawmakers from the EU had visited Kashmir - the first time in their personal capacity. The government had come under criticism over the visits, with the opposition pointing out that their MPs and MLAs have not been allowed to visit Jammu and Kashmir.