Iran’s Guardian Council urges India to revoke discriminatory law against Muslims

March 15, 2020 - 19:37

TEHRAN - Hadi Tahan Nazif, a member of Iran’s Guardian Council, has urged the Indian government to annul a discriminatory law against the Muslims.

In a letter to India’s Supreme Court, he said, “The respected colleagues in India’s Supreme Court are expected to pave the way for ending discriminatory law against the Muslims.”

Anti-Muslim violence started in India amid widespread protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government introduced in December, offering a path to Indian citizenship for six religious groups from neighboring countries, specifically excluding Muslims.

Critics insist the law is discriminatory, coming in the wake of other severe government measures against the country’s Muslim population such as withdrawal of autonomy for Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir province that has intensified discord across India about the future of its 200 million Muslims.

Tahan Nazif said in his letter that India’s Supreme Court must use legal methods to end the discriminatory law against the Muslims.

Following is full text of the letter:

In the Name of God

Hon'ble Mr. Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde

The Chief Justice of India,

Greetings and regards,

As your Excellency well know, supporting basic rights and freedoms and safeguarding their human and citizenship rights are among the principal aims and objectives of judicial and constitutional review bodies that supervise laws and regulations approved by parliaments and other bodies. As we and you, at two judicial and constitutional review bodies that supervise parliamentarian laws, feel it incumbent upon ourselves to prevent the establishment of norms that can contribute to the deterioration of people’s rights.

Sadly, however, today’s images and news coming out of India show the scale of violence used against oppressed Muslims and denial of their very basic rights, including their right to life. This is while India has always been a key supporter of peace in the world and promoted peaceful coexistence of followers of different faiths and ideologies.

Moreover, India is best known for exercise of tolerance and invitation to peace and friendship among Hindus and members of other religious minorities, particularly Muslims, issues stressed by the country’s independence icon Mahatma Gandhi in the diverse and multi-cultural India.

Undoubtedly, the Indian government will take the necessary measures to prevent a religious conflict from escalating. But what our colleagues in India as a friendly and brotherly country can do to end the ongoing protests as well as brutality against Muslims is to reconsider a controversial citizenship law that was ratified by the Parliament of India in December 2019.

It seems that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) is discriminatory as it excludes Muslims from the fabric of Indian society by eliminating their rights to equality and citizenship, which runs contrary to basic human rights principles.

According to articles 1 and 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on December 10, 1948, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status”. …

Again, according to article 15 of the same document, “Everyone has the right to a nationality and no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality”.

Articles 2 and 26 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the Government of India is a party, also emphasize that “all persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law”.

Article 14 of the Indian Constitution attaches importance to equality before law and equal protection of laws as well while Article 15 prohibits discrimination against citizens on the basis of religion and race.

Our respected colleagues in the Supreme Court of India are expected to use the legal methods and procedures enshrined in the Indian Constitution and pave the way for repeal of this discriminatory law against Muslims.

NA/PA

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