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Fact Check: Did Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella call CAA bad and sad?

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Summary

Satya Nadella was misquoted by Indian media. Mr. Nadella did not call CAA 'sad or bad' as he clearly referred to the whole situation that is going on in India.

The Indian-born Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella took twitter by storm when his comments on the Citizenship Amendment Act and the ongoing situation in India were quoted by Indian media houses. Ben Smith, the editor-in-chief of buzzfeednews.com tweeted that while talking to editors at an event in Manhattan earlier on 13th January, Mr. Nadella said about CAA, "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."

Subsequently, following one-another is sheep herd,  a number of media houses chose selective words from the comment and quoted Mircosoft CEO calling CAA 'bad and sad'.  The Hindu, India Today and The Huffington Post are to name a few who titled their articles that Satya Nadella called CAA 'sad and bad.'

Journalist Sadanand Dhume and historian Ram Chandra Guha also hailed the statements made by Mr. Nadella.

 

Satya Nadella was misquoted by Indian Media

However, interestingly, in his comments, Mr. Nadella did not call CAA 'sad or bad' as he clearly referred to the whole situation that is going on in India. And it is heedless to implicitly understand that he was calling CAA 'sad and bad', due to which the notion put out by media houses is just a 'selectively choosing words' that suits that narrative. 

Following the uproar on Twitter, Ben Smith on 14th January share the complete verbatim. 

Apparently, on a question whether he has any views on CAA, Nadella is quoted to have said (if reported accurately): “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.”

And then he went on to add, “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, 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.” He then goes on to applaud the debate over the act in India.

As we can see that Nadella’s comments, taken in entirety, is nuanced. He acknowledges the need to balance immigration policy and liberal outlook, the reality of it as an issue and places weight on national security and a nation’s sovereign choices and, nowhere explicitly calling or even referring to CAA as 'sad or bad'.

And in all the debates over his reported comments based on which narratives were being shaped, this nuance was missing. In a subsequent statement, Microsoft India released a statement trying in an attempt to clean the air to clarify the tone of the CEO’s comments.

CAA doesn't affect legal migrants

It is quite clear from Satya Nadella's statement that he was talking about legal migrants. Nowhere in his interview, he spoke about illegal migrants or refugees. On the other hand, CAA is for illegal migrants and refugees.

There are no restrictions on Muslims from any country to seek Indian citizenship under existing laws. They can apply for Indian citizenship under section 6 of the Citizenship Act, which deals with citizenship by naturalization. CAB doesn't affect this law.

CAA grants fast-track Indian citizenship in six years. So far, 12 years of residence has been the standard eligibility requirement for naturalization. 

So, effectively CAA doesn't affect legal migrants seeking Indian citizenship.

You can read more about CAA here: Separating facts from rumours: All you need to know about Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019

The whole controversy regarding Satya Nadella's comment on CAA is a perfect example of how certain media houses choose words selectively and present in whichever narrative serves their purpose. 

Note: You can reach out to us at facthunt.in[at]gmail dot com if you find any issue with our articles.

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