Even as several Indian cities and towns continue to witness protests against the Centre's Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019, with violence being reported from some places, a group of academicians have issued a statement in support of the CAA.
In a statement, the group, which included academicians, intellectuals and research scholars, said, "The act 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...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," it added.
'Congratulating' the Indian Parliament and government, the academicians said that they believed 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, from seeking Indian citizenship."
The statement further added that CAA did not "change the criteria of citizenship in any way; merely providing a special expedited redress, under special circumstances, for minorities fleeing religious persecution from three specific countries i.e. Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan."
"It does not in any way prevent Ahmadis, Hazaras, Baloch or any other denominations and ethnicity, from these same three countries, seeking citizenship through regular processes," the statement said.
Meanwhile a group of academics and research scholars have released a statement in support of CAA. pic.twitter.com/QUoLhRGvZ4â€” Vasudha Venugopal (@vasudha_ET) December 21, 2019
Commenting on the protests that have broken out across the country, the group said, "We also note with deep anguish, that an atmosphere of fear and paranoia is being created in the country through deliberate obfuscation and fear-mongering leading to violence in several parts of the country."
"We appeal to every section of society to exercise restraint and refuse to fall into the trap of propaganda, communalism and anarchism," it added.
Students and academics from universities in India have been at the forefront of the protests, which have seen civil society from all walks of life participate. At least 300 students from various institutions in the United States, including Columbia, Harvard, Yale and Stanford Universities, among many others, have issued a statement in support of the protests. They also slammed police action against the students.