Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's take on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) has led to a storm with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Meenakshi Lekhi taking on the tech giant's top boss for commenting on India's internal affairs. In an interview to US media house Buzzfeed on Monday, Nadella had said, "I think what is happening is sad... It`s just bad."
Nadella in his statement pointed out that he hoped that every single immigrant who is provided with the status of being a citizen of the country under the Citizenship Amendment Act, which has caused a lot of furore across India, may aspire for a prosperous future and equally, benefit the society and economy.
Reacting to Nadella's interview, Meenakshi Lekhi on Tuesday trained her guns on him. Lekhi tweeted, "How literate need to be educated! Perfect example. Precise reason for CAA is to grant opportunities to persecuted minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan & Afghanistan. How about granting these opportunities to Syrian Muslims instead of Yezidis in USA?"
Statement from Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft pic.twitter.com/lzsqAUHu3I
— Microsoft India (@MicrosoftIndia) January 13, 2020
Nadella's comment on CAA came during an interview to Buzzfeed. He was asked: "There's been a lot of pressure on companies like yours around healing with governments, I wonder if you had a view on the citizenship act in India and broadly if you have concerns about working with that government in terms of how they're using data?"
He replied: To me, in fact, I obviously grew up in India and I'm very proud of where I get my heritage, culturally in that place, and I grew up in a city, I always felt it was a great place to grow up, we celebrated [unintel], we celebrated Christmas, Diwali, all three festivals that are big for us, I think what is happening is sad, primarily as sort of someone who grew up there, I feel, and in fact quite frankly, now being informed shaped by the two amazing American things that I've observed which is both, it's technology reaching me where I was growing up and its immigration policy and even a story like mine being possible in a country like this,
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.
I'm not saying that any country doesn't and should not care about its own national security, borders do exist and they're real and people will think about it, I mean after all immigration is an issue in this country, it's an issue in Europe and it's an issue in India, but the approach that one takes to deal with what is immigration, who are immigrants and minority groups, that sensibility.
That's where I hope these liberal values that we've kind of come to-- It's capitalism, quite frankly, has only thrived because of market forces and liberal values, both acting and I hope India figures it out, the good news at least as I see it is it's a messy democracy and people are debating it, it's not something that is hidden, it's something that is being debated actively but I'm definitely clear on what we stand for and what I stand for.
Microsoft India, too, issued a statement on Nadella's answer. "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 a multicultural India and my immigrant experience in the United States. 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," read the statement.
Since December 2019, India has been witnessing protests and counter-protests after the government passed the CAA that allows persecuted refugees, including Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians who came here on or before December 31, 2014, from three neighbouring countries (Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan) to seek citizenship of the country.