NEW DELHI – Amid the massive nationwide protests over the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Monday criticized the contentious citizenship law saying the prevailing situation in the country was just bad.
“I think what is happening is sad… I think it’s just bad. If anything I would love to see a Bangladeshi immigrant who comes to India and creates the next unicorn in India, or becomes the CEO of Infosys, that should be the aspiration. If I had to sort of mirror what happened to me in the US, I hope that’s what happens in India,” Nadella told Buzzfeed.
Asked Microsoft CEO @satyanadella about India's new Citizenship Act. "I think what is happening is sad… It's just bad…. I would love to see a Bangladeshi immigrant who comes to India and creates the next unicorn in India or becomes the next CEO of Infosys" cc @PranavDixit
— Ben Smith (@BuzzFeedBen) January 13, 2020
Following Nadella’s remarks, Microsoft put out a statement attributed to the CEO: “Every country will and should define its borders, protect national security and set immigration policy accordingly. And in democracies, that is something that the people and their governments will debate and define within those bounds.
“I’m shaped by my Indian heritage, growing up in multicultural India and my immigrant experience in the US. My hope is for an India where an immigrant can aspire to found a prosperous start-up or lead a multinational corporation benefitting Indian society and the economy at large.”
Nadella was speaking to editors at a Microsoft event in Manhattan.
Reacting to Nadella’s statement, historian Ramachandra Guha said, “I am glad Satya Nadella has said what he has. I wish that one of our own IT czars had the courage and wisdom to say this first. Or to say it even now.”
Meanwhile, author and columnist Sadanand Dhume said, “I’m somewhat surprised that Satya Nadella touched this issue, but not at all surprised that he disapproves of India’s citizenship law. A successful firm like Microsoft is built on the principle of treating all people equally regardless of their faith.”
The citizenship law, which came into effect from January 10, aims to make Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship in India. But the law discriminates against Muslims on the basis of religion.
At least 26 people have been killed in the wake of the ongoing protests against the Act. Uttar Pradesh has been the worst affected. At least 19 protesters have lost their lives during violence across the state. Following damage to public property in the anti-CAA protests, the Uttar Pradesh government has slapped notices on 372 people (out of 478 identified) to recover damages.