Memoradum submitted by Bengaluru Metropolitan Archbishop Peter Machado against CAA. (Photo/ANI)
Memoradum submitted by Bengaluru Metropolitan Archbishop Peter Machado against CAA. (Photo/ANI)

Bengaluru Metropolitan Archbishop appeals to centre for citizenship on merit , not religion

ANI | Updated: Jan 09, 2020 15:20 IST

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], Jan 9 (ANI): Bengaluru Metropolitan Archbishop Peter Machado on Thursday submitted a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Governor Vajubhai Vala against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, requesting Centre not to grant citizenship to the illegal migrants on the basis of their religion but rather on the basis of merit.
In the memorandum, Machado while appealing to the citizens to maintain peace and harmony in the country in wake of anti-CAA protest, said: "People should not recourse to violent methods to fight for their cause. We appeal to the Central government to grant citizenship to the illegal migrants not on the basis of their religions, but on the merit of each individual case."
"There is a danger that there could be a polarization of our peoples along religious lines, which is very harmful for the country. Religion should never be the criterion for citizenship of a country," he said.
Stating that Muslims are being targetted through the CAA, he said: "Now one community has been by and large targetted and in future it may affect us (Christians) as well. That is why we want any protest or anything that should go in a peaceful manner and as per the Constitution."
"Let religion not be made criteria for citizenship. Let's not spoil India's image of unity in diversity. Don't isolate a religion or community. We are not targeted now but we could be in the future. We are also a minority, could happen to any of us," he told ANI.
The CAA grants citizenship to illegal Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jains, Parsis and Christian migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.
The Archbishop said that the Act, naturally, implies that migrants, who identify themselves with any group or community other than Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jains, and Parsis won't be eligible for citizenship.
"The Bill also relaxes the provisions for "Citizenship by naturalisation," he added.
Taking cognisance of the ongoing protests against CAA, Machado said: "Violence is not a solution when there is a difference of opinion. It is necessary that the government dialogues with those opposing the Act, and come to an agreement about the way forward with justice, equity and fairness. There is no harm in backtracking: changing course if this is necessary for the good of the country and our people."
"By doing so, it can meet out justice to all the illegal migrants and thus promote equality among them. More so, it can also convince the citizens of the country that it upholds the sacredness of the Constitution and respects the rights of all the linguistic and religious minorities without any discrimination," he said.
He said the Christian Community expressed solidarity with those who have been discriminated on the basis of Religion, and assure them of support and fellowship that justice may be granted to them. (ANI)