Address EU’s concerns on CAA, says U.K. High Commissioner Sir Dominique Asquith

U.K. High Commissioner points to protests across the country against new law

Published - January 30, 2020 11:01 pm IST - NEW DELHI

High Commissioner Sir Dominique Asquith said that U.K. cannot stop protests on its soil as that is part of the democratic culture.

High Commissioner Sir Dominique Asquith said that U.K. cannot stop protests on its soil as that is part of the democratic culture.

India should address the concerns regarding the new citizenship law, the envoy of the United Kingdom said here on Thursday.

High Commissioner Sir Dominique Asquith’s comment came even as the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) maintained that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019, is an internal matter of the country.

“We noted what the government said that, ‘together with all, development for all, trust for all’, and I believe that is the manifested commitment of this government and I trust that it will continue to address the concerns that have been expressed. But that is for the Indian government and the Indian people,” Sir Dominique said.

The High Commissioner’s remarks came days after an anti-India gathering was allowed outside the Indian High Commission in London on January 26.

The envoy said U.K. could not stop protests on its soil as that is part of the democratic culture.

The comments came during the farewell press conference of the High Commissioner before he returns home at the end of his stint.

The EU Parliament had on Wednesday discussed a joint motion against the CAA. Voting on the resolution, however, has been shifted to the end of March in view of the March 13 visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Brussels for the EU-India summit.

Sir Dominique referred to the protests against the new law that are being reported from across the country, saying, “There are protests in every democracy. I can’t pick up a newspaper (that doesn't have) reports and commentary on the Citizenship Act.”

No violation: MEA

The MEA on Thursday, however, reiterated that the new citizenship law that guarantees citizenship for non-Muslims from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, is an internal matter of India.

During the discussion in the EU Parliament, MEPs pointed out that the citizenship law breaches India’s international commitments. EU-India strategic ties are based on shared democratic values, respect for human rights and equality before law and it appears that the CAA goes against such international understandings that India has entered into in the past.

“We are not violating any of the international laws and covenants which are in place. We see the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in a completely different light compared to some of the members of the EU Parliament,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

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