Several parties including Congress, BSP, PDP, AAP, and JD-S opposed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) while the Naga People’s Front (NPF) and South India’s AIADMK and YSR Congress Party and Odisha’s BJD came to rescue the government in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
The parties in opposition said that the Bill, which seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim refugees who fled religious persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh, violates Article 14 of the Constitution and targets Muslims.
Participation in the debate, BSP MP Satish Chandra Mishra said: “Our party opposes the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019. Why are you violating Article 14 by excluding Muslims? Muslims being excluded is the sole problem of this entire Act.”
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) member Sanjay Singh also echoed similar sentiments while opposing the bill. “Sanjay Singh, AAP in Rajya Sabha, on #CitizenshipAmendmentBill2019: I am opposing this Bill as it is against the Constitution made by Baba Saheb Ambedkar. It is against the Preamble of the Constitution. It is against the India of the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi and Bhagat Singh,” he tweeted.
Mehbooba Mufti-led the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) MP Mir M Fayaz said: “I stand to oppose this Bill. Since this government has come to power, the way it has brought bills like Triple Talaq and Article 370-Muslims have been targeted.”
Congress’ P Chidambaram said that the NDA government was “ramming through this Bill to advance its Hindutva agenda” and called the day as “sad”. “I am absolutely clear that this law will be struck off,” the Congress leader said.
“If this obnoxious, abominable, undemocratic, unreasonable, unpardonable, unjustifiable, unconstitutional Bill is passed today in this Council of State, it will become a black chapter in the annals of this Upper House,” MDMK leader Vaiko told the Rajya Sabha. JDS leader D Kupendra Reddy said that the Bill will be “diluting our secularism policy in this country” and recommended that the Bill be sent to a select committee of Parliament for scrutiny.
The parties, who decided to side with the government, said the proposed legislation was not against any particular community, with the BJD demanding including of Sri Lankan Tamil in the Bill.
NPF MP KG Kenye from Nagaland said: “People in north-east have no religious bias and aren’t communal … It’s not about religion, minority or majority communities. It’s about illegal migrants, who’ve come into our region and threatening to run over our population.” “The Bill is not against Sri Lankan Tamils and Tamil Nadu. We support the CAB in Parliament,” AIADMK leader D Jayakumar stated. YSR Congress Party’s V Vijaysai Reddy also announced his party’s decision to support the Bill.
Clarifying his party’s stand, Odisha-based BJD’s Prasanna Acharya said: “Our stand is the same as was in the Lok Sabha. We are supporting the bill but we want certain amendments in the bill like including Sri Lanka in it.”
The cut-off date for getting citizenship under the Bill is December 31, 2014.
It was passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday with a majority of 311 votes against 80 votes where 391 members were present and voting. At noon today, it was tabled in the Rajya Sabha by Home Minister Amit Shah. (ANI)