India's Interior Minister G. Kishan Reddy said it was imperative that persecuted religious groups in neighboring countries be granted Indian citizenship, arguing that they had nowhere else to go.
Speaking in the context of the recently passed Citizenship Amendment Act, which accelerates Indian citizenship for religious groups fleeing persecution in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, Reddy said India should take time off for other nations that do not wish to receive poor refugees. , choosing Italy by name.
"It is our moral responsibility to give citizenship to minorities [from three neighboring Muslim countries]," Reddy said. “If they don't come to India, where will they go? To Italy? "
Italy does not accept Hindus or Sikhs because they are poor people.
The act of citizenship courted controversy and sparked protests across the country, with opponents arguing that it discriminates against Muslims who have been left off the list of groups eligible for accelerated citizenship. Proponents of the law defended the exemption, however, arguing that the three neighboring countries are predominantly Muslim and that the law was designed to protect vulnerable minorities.
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Since the Mediterranean migration crisis began in 2010, Italy has been among the least willing to open its doors to refugees, many fleeing violence and various forms of persecution in Africa. During his tenure, newly replaced Interior Minister Matteo Salvini – who also leads the populist Lega Nord party – helped propel an anti-immigration policy agenda. In 2018, a measure dubbed the "Salvini Decree" was sanctioned, eliminating various legal protections for migrants and speeding up the deportation process.
Although the decree and similar acts seem to have had some effect – with Italy about half the number of refugees in 2019 than the previous year – Salvini's substitute, Luciana Lamorgese, indicated a much less hawkish position on the migrant issue. In an interview with La Repubblica in November, she denied that Italy was "facing any invasion" – a term that Salvini and like-minded lawmakers used to describe the large influx of refugees in Europe.
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