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FOODS hosted panel discussion on CAA

FOODS hosted panel discussion on CAA
February 21
15:13 2020

India Post News Service

On the background of debates around India’s recently announced Citizenship Amendment Act(CAA) and aberration of article 370 of India’s constitution, the foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS) hosted a panel discussion on the issues and Indo American’s role. The panel included Nissim Ruben (AJC), Senge Sering (Gilgit Baltistan Analyst), Sant Gupta (political analyst), and Dr. Vijay Sabzawal (ex-President of Indo American Kashmir Forum). The panel was moderated by Nar Koppula, a founding member of the Washington DC-based US-India Security Forum (USISF).

The panel started with Dr. Vijay Sazawal, a Kashmir born policy analyst who had been invited by US Congress for his expert comments. Dr. Sazawal, who is also a founding member and past president of Indo American Kashmir Forum(IAKF), covered the legal framework behind the aberration of article 370. He observed that the Government of India had used the constitutional provision under which Kashmir trifurcation was done in the past in the case of SC/ST provision. Hence, there is a precedent that will stand in any judicial scrutiny.

A Gilgit-Baltistan activist Senge Sering who also had been invited by US Congress in the past stressed that India should focus on Gilgit-Baltistan. He mentioned that India not only has a legitimate right on the region but also should protect the region being exploited by China under China Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC), which is part of China’s world empire building vision of One Belt One Border Initiative(OBOR).

India born, Nissim Reuben, who is an assistant director of the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) Asia Pacific Institute, mentioned that India is right on actions but short on building right perception. He emphasized the need for India and Indian diaspora to engage in public awareness campaigns.

Nissim’s comments were taken to the next level by the Washington DC-based political analyst, Sant Gupta. He said that the Indian diaspora either needs to be actively engaged in political activism or should support institutions like FIIDS, which is involved in public awareness.

In his closing comments, Khanderao Kand, the director of FIIDS, emphasized that the CAA should have been named as Neighbour Persecuted Religious Minority Refugee Act. He stressed that this name would have been appropriate as CAA gives citizenship to the refugees and does not take away anyone’s citizenship. He expressed that branding it as a refugee act would have established a right perception challenging to challenge for its opponent.

The FIIDS is a policy, advocacy, and awareness forum for India and Indian diaspora related issues.

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