The Seattle City Council voted Monday to oppose policies advanced by India’s government as discriminatory toward Muslims and other groups.
The council passed a resolution urging India’s Parliament to repeal the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and to stop the National Register of Citizens (NRC). The vote was 5-0.
Councilmember Kshama Sawant sponsored the resolution, which condemns Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “far right” government and which says the CAA and NRC could be used “to strip hundreds of millions of people … of their citizenship rights.”
“The rapidly expanding authoritarianism of the Modi government … is of concern, not only to the millions of Muslims, oppressed castes, women, indigenous, and LGBT people in India, but also to Seattle’s South Asian immigrant community,” it says.
The CAA, which allows some migrants to India to be fast-tracked for citizenship, favors members of other major religions, but not Islam.
The policy has recently stirred large protests in India, with critics warning it could be used by Modi’s Hindu-nationalist party, in conjunction with the NRC, to detain or deport Muslims who can’t produce certain documents.
More than 100 people signed up to testify Monday, with many criticizing the resolution as misleading. Some said the CAA would help non-Muslim migrants to India who have been persecuted in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
Some opponents asked the council to focus on Seattle matters rather than Indian politics. Before the vote, many left the room shouting.
At previous meetings, many other speakers urged the council to support Indian Muslims and tolerance in Seattle by passing the resolution.