Members of Scotland’s Indian community say they will be standing up for freedom by protesting outside the Indian Consulate in Edinburgh later today.
Representatives from the Indian Workers Association in Scotland will be staging a peaceful protest outside the consulate in Rutland Square against the Indian government’s controversial Citizen Amendment Act (CAA).
The CAA will fast-track citizenship for religious minorities, including Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians – but does not include Muslims.
India’s parliament passed the bill last year which would give Indian citizenship to immigrants from three neighbouring countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
The legislation applies to those who were “forced or compelled to seek shelter in India due to persecution on the ground of religion”.
It aims to protect such people from proceedings of illegal migration, but not if they are Muslim.
Paramjit Basi, president of the Indian Workers Association Glasgow branch, who is leading the fight for democracy in Scotland, said: “Regardless of religion, it is important to support secularism rather than dividing a country.
“Most Scottish Indians feel very strongly about this and we are showing support in Edinburgh alongside other protests taking place across major cities including London and Birmingham.”
The protest is also being supported by the Central Gurdawa, Scottish Asian Christian Fellowship, The Guru Nanak Sikh Temple and other organisations in Glasgow with buses leaving from the Sikh temple in Glasgow’s Albert Drive.
Widespread protests against the CAA have taken place across India, with several petitions also launched challenging its constitutional validity.
The central government have defended the CAA by saying that Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh are Muslim-majority countries so Muslims are ‘unlikely to face religious persecution’ there.