According to the sources, Shiv Sena is set to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Bill which will be tabled in Parliament next week. Currently, the Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is leading a coalition government with the NCP and Congress in Maharashtra. In Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the bill to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 was cleared. Subsequently, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar confirmed this in a press briefing.
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar: Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) has been cleared by the Cabinet. pic.twitter.com/nNwKfZAVdx— ANI (@ANI) December 4, 2019
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.
Speaking at the Republic Summit 2019 on November 27, Union Home Minister Amit Shah responded to Republic Media Network’s Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami’s question on whether the National Register of Citizens (NRC) divides the Hindus and non-Hindus. Shah answered in the negative, drawing a distinction between the NRC and CAB. He opined that the minority communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh seeking asylum in India would be welcomed.
Amit Shah remarked, "Firstly the NRC is not going to cause any difference between Hindus and Muslims. Everyone will need to prove that they are a citizen of India be it Hindu or Muslim. You are referring to the Citizenship Amendment Bill. In that bill people from three countries Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan who are Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, Christian those who come to India seeking asylum will be welcomed. It is not about Hindu and Muslims, these three countries are Islamic countries and the count of the minority in those countries has seen a drastic fall of 20 to 30%."