Indian expats in Iran ask to meet visiting FM in Tehran over recent developments

TEHRAN, Dec. 22 (MNA) – The Indian expatriate community living in Iran have called on their foreign minister to hold a meeting with them during his trip to Tehran and explain the recent developments occurring in the country after the New Delhi government proposed a controversial citizenship bill.

In an open letter to Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, who is in Tehran for a two-day visit (December 22-23), a number of Indian businesspersons, professionals, university and seminary students and scholars living in Iran have requested a meeting to voice their concern over the recent incidents in India.

Anger has been growing in India over the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), which gives refugees of all of South Asia’s major religions, such as Buddhists and Hindus — but excluding Muslims — from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh a clear path to Indian citizenship.

Human rights activists say the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has designed the discriminatory law explicitly to exclude Muslims from the possibility of acquiring refugee status in India and, eventually, citizenship.

India’s 200 million Muslims view the measure as the government’s first step toward making them second class citizens.

Protests in India against the controversial bill have spread to universities across the country, with police storming student campuses and firing tear gas at protesters. Video captured by students show baton-wielding police storming the campuses while firing tear gas at them. Police officers were also seen beating up students inside campus areas like bathrooms and the library. On one occasion, police locked up the gates of a college in the northern city of Lucknow to prevent students from taking to the streets.

The following is the full text of the letter:

To: Honourable External Affairs Minister, Republic of India

Dear Sir,

Upon learning of your visit to Iran scheduled for the 21st and 22nd of December from the press release issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, we Indians living in Iran wish to meet with you in Tehran.

The proximate cause for this request is the wave of popular public protests that have swept over our country in the past 10 days, in which a number of our countrymen have been attacked or detained by the police, while several of our fellow Indians have lost their lives too. However, what has worried us even more than this loss of precious lives is the danger posed by the present Government’s policies to the peaceful co-existence long enjoyed by Indians belonging to different communities, including Hindus and Muslims.

If your administration’s actions such as the termination of the special status of J&K, the leaving out of 1.9 million Assamese residents from the NRC, and the discriminatory changes recently made in the country’s citizenship laws were to be viewed in isolation, perhaps a suitable explanation may be found for each of them. But when all these actions are viewed together, along with the statements issued by the highest office-bearers of the present administration, in addition to our country’s unpleasant economic situation, we are left deeply worried about our country’s future.

Therefore, we strongly urge you to make time for an open and free interaction with us during your visit so that as citizens of India, we may have the opportunity to seek answers to our questions and concerns.


Indians living in Iran (businesspersons, professionals, university and seminary students, scholars)

News Code 153608


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