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New Delhi, Dec 21 (IANS) A group of academics, intellectuals and research scholars have issued a joint statement in support of the Indian government’s controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), saying that it "fulfils the long-standing demand of providing refuge to persecuted religious minorities" from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
"Ever since the failure of the Liaquat-Nehru pact of 1950, various leaders and political parties like the Congress, CPI-M, cutting across the ideological spectrum, have demanded the grant of citizenship to religious minorities from Pakistan and Bangladesh who mostly belong to the Dalit castes," the statement, which has the names of 1,100 signatories, said.
The group congratulated the Centre and Parliament for "standing up for forgotten minorities and upholding the civilizational ethos of India and also for providing a haven to those fleeing
They also expressed satisfaction that the concerns of the northeastern states have been heard and were being addressed appropriately, adding that the CAA was in "perfect sync with the secular Constitution of India as it does not prevent any person of any religion from any country, seeking Indian citizenship".
"It does not in any way prevent Ahmadis, Hazaras, Baloch or any other denominations and ethnicities, from these same three countries, seeking citizenship through regular processes," the statement added.
Regarding the violent anti-CAA protests that have erupted across the country, especially in the northeast, "we appeal to every section of society to exercise restraint and refuse to fall into the trap of propaganda, communalism and anarchism".
At least 10 people have lost their lives in the state and many others have sustained injuries during the anti-CAA protests so far.