The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said Muslims would bear the punitive consequences of exclusion from the NRC with CAA in place.
In Feb 2019, the USCIRF released a fact sheet on India's Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), stating that Indian Muslims would bear the punitive consequences of exclusion from the NRC with CAA in place which would include 'statelessness, deportation, or prolonged detention.'
The report stated that 'there are serious concerns that the CAA serves as a protective measure for non-Muslims in case of exclusion from a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC).' In its annual report for 2019, the USCIRF raised serious concerns about various BJP leaders' comments about the party's intention to create a new, exclusively Hindu country in India.
The report highlighted that India's religious freedom conditions are taking a drastic turn downward, with national and various state governments tolerating widespread harassment and violence against religious minorities. 'The BJP-led government enacted the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), which provides a fast track to Indian citizenship only for non-Muslim migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan already residing in India. This potentially exposes millions of Muslims to detention, deportation, and statelessness when the government completes its planned nationwide National Register of Citizens,' the report claimed.
However, official sources in New Delhi told The Hindu that the new citizenship law was an internal matter that would stay. The Central government stated that Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh are Muslim majority countries and the Muslims are not likely to face religious persecution there. Speaking on the issue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Jan. 12, said that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) aims at giving citizenship and not taking it away.
The government's decision to implement the CAA led to massive protests across the nation. The protest in Assam and other northeastern states turned violent over fears that the move will cause a loss of their' political rights, culture, and land rights.' Some also accused non-Muslims of being protected under CAA, whereas the Muslims would be deported under NRC.
The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a register of all Indian citizens whose creation is mandated by the 2003 amendment of the Citizenship Act, 1955. Its purpose is to document all the legal citizens of India so that the illegal immigrants can be identified and deported.
As per the Citizenship Act, 1955, every person born in India: on or after the 26th day of January 1950, but before the 1st day of July 1987; on or after the 1st day of July 1987, but before the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003 and either of whose parents is a citizen of India at the time of his birth; on or after the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003, where both of his parents are citizens of India; or one of whose parents is a citizen of India and the other is not an illegal migrant at the time of his birth, shall be a citizen of India by birth.