Biden’s views on India’s CAB, NRC ticks off Hindu-Americans



This might seem like a slightly delayed reaction from Joe Biden, as the Democratic presidential nominee and the former vice president wants India to take necessary steps to restore the rights of all Kashmiris.

He has expressed disappointment over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the implementation of the NRC in Assam, which was implemented in late 2019 by the ruling BJP government.

“These measures are inconsistent with the country’s long tradition of secularism and with sustaining a multi-ethnic and multi-religious democracy,” according to the policy paper — ‘Joe Biden’s agenda for Muslim American community’ posted recently on his campaign website.

But this opinion from Biden did not sit well with a group of Hindu Americans who have reached out to the Biden campaign expressing their resentment to the ‘language’ used against India and have urged them to reconsider their views. The group has also sought a similar policy paper on Hindu Americans.

Observing that Biden understands the pain Muslim Americans feel towards what is happening in Muslim-majority countries and countries with significant Muslim populations, the policy paper clubbed together Kashmir and Assam in India with the forced detention of over a million Uyghur Muslims in western China and discrimination and atrocities against Burma’s Rohingya Muslim minority.

“In Kashmir, the Indian government should take all necessary steps to restore rights of all the people of Kashmir. Restrictions on dissent, such as preventing peaceful protests or shutting or slowing down the Internet, weakens democracy,” said the policy paper on Muslim Americans.

“Joe Biden has been disappointed by the measures that the government of India has taken with the implementation and aftermath of the National Register of Citizens in Assam and the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act into law,” it said.

“Biden as US senator for decades and as vice president under President Barack Obama for eight years has been known as one of the best friends of India and Indian-Americans,” it said.

“He played a key role in the passage of the India-US civilian nuclear deal, and as vice president, he advocated increasing the bilateral trade to $500 billion per annum. Well connected with the Indian-Americans, Biden regularly hosted Diwali at his vice-presidential residence,” it said.

“Biden understands the issues impacting India, issues of cross-border terrorism, influx of terrorism across borders in Kashmir, issue of Hindu minorities sufferings in Kashmir, issues in Indo-Pacific region with China, and the rising role of India as stronger US ally in all areas including economic growth, counter-terrorism, fight for human rights, climate change and global security,” Biden supporter Ajay Jain Bhutoria told PTI.

“There are groups within various elected officials’ groups in US pushing language and agendas highlighting misinformation and damaging facts on how India handled its own internal matter on Kashmir, Ladakh or immigration reforms related to NRC,” rued Bhutoria, who is also on the National Finance Committee for Biden.

Bhutoria pointed out how the US has updated its immigration policy to block the H-1B and other visas for rest of the year to safeguard its own workers, similarly, India too has a right to define its own Immigration policy to support its population and economy, he said.

“I grew up in Guwahati, Assam, and I have seen the influx of people across the border and taking away important jobs, resources from local people in northeastern states,” he said.

While this might be a narrow-pointed opinion from Bhutoria, it is nevertheless important for India to secure its borders from an influx of immigrants. On the other hand, the controversy of the CAB and NRC was not on the act itself but how it was targeted to keep out Muslims in particular.

In a time like this, the Hindutva minded BJP needs to improve and manage the new policies that are more inclusive.