Speaking to the reporters outside Parliament on Wednesday, Gorakhpur Lok Sabha MP Ravi Kishan made some controversial remarks while commenting on the impending introduction of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB). Without going into the merits or weaknesses of the Bill, he simply asserted that the BJP passing “unique” and “stringent” bills gave him “immense pleasure”. Furthermore, he alleged that those protesting against the Bill had lost their mental balance.
Ravi Kishan remarked, “Our country has almost 100 crore Hindus. By that virtue itself, it is a Hindu Rashtra. If such a Bill is passed and BJP will be known as a party that passes unique and stringent laws which was considered to be impossible, then it is a matter of immense pleasure." He added, "Protesters have gone mad. Let them protest.”
The CAB was first introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 19, 2016. Thereafter, it was referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) which submitted its report on January 7, 2019. While it received the assent of the Lok Sabha the very next day, the Bill remained pending in the Rajya Sabha as BJP did not have enough numbers for its passage. After the dissolution of the Lok Sabha in May 2019, the Bill automatically lapsed. Basically, the Bill seeks to exempt the minority communities namely Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan from being considered as illegal migrants. Furthermore, the mandatory residence period for naturalised citizenship for these communities would be reduced to 6 years. Several parties in the North East such as the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) have been vehemently opposed to this Bill. The opposition contends that the Bill discriminates on the basis of religion, which might go against Article 14, which guarantees the right to equality.