After the Union Cabinet on Wednesday cleared the Citizenship Amendment Bill for Parliament to take over, Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in Assam Debabrata Saikia called the decision "unfortunate" and said that the government is violating the Constitution. He said, "Last week, we all celebrated Constitution day in front of the statue of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and took a pledge to protect and safeguard the constitution of India. Now this government after taking the oath is violating the constitutional provisions, that is trying to pass a bill which is unconstitutional and against the fundamental principles of Article 14 of the constitution."
The Citizenship Bill seeks to grant citizenship to all non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan if they faced religious persecution in these neighbouring countries. Union minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday asked BJP MPs to be present in large numbers in the Parliament when Home Minister Amit Shah tables the Citizenship Bill in Parliament. At a meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday, Rajnath Singh said that the three neighbouring countries were essentially Islamic nations and so it is non-Muslims and not Muslims who are at the receiving end of religious persecution there. "Minorities in the neighbouring theocratic countries have been subjected to continuous persecution, which forced them to seek asylum in India. Giving citizenship to six minorities is in the spirit of Sarva Dharma Sambhav," Singh said.
Meanwhile, Amit Shah on Saturday held discussions with leaders of political parties, students bodies and civil society groups of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya on the proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) and listened to their views. Two days before giving a green signal to the Citizenship Bill, Amit Shah set the deadline for the implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) across the country. Addressing a public rally in West Singhbhum in Jharkhand ahead of the Assembly elections, Amit Shah reiterated that the government would expel all the infiltrators before the next Lok Sabha elections which is scheduled for 2024. The Bill has been opposed by nativist groups who are against granting citizenship to refugees fearing economic imbalance in their areas.
(With PTI inputs)