LUCKNOW: Amid the raging controversy over Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) which the Centre is pushing hard in Parliament, the All-India Shia Personal Law Board (AISPLB) and the UP Shia Waqf Board have decided to request the Central government to increase the ambit of Bill and include Shias in the list of protected non-Muslim communities, who would be given citizenship, on account of their religious persecution in the neighbouring Islamic countries.
The board also urged the Centre to review its decision to implement the National Register for Citizens (NRC) across the country. It also demanded a commission, on the lines of Sachar Committee, to study the plight of Shias across India.
The Sachar Committee was formed in 2005 to study the social, economic and educational condition of Muslims.
If the government is taking Jains, Buddhists, Christians, Sikhs and Parsis under its wings to give citizenship to members of these communities, then Shias must also be included as they are a minority within the minorities in the country, said AISPLB spokesman Maulana Yasoob Abbas. AISPLB was set up under Lucknow based cleric Maulana Siam Mehdifor the socio-economic and educational uplift of Shias in 2005.
The CAB seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Bill does not grant citizenship to Muslim refugees from the three countries.
“The Citizenship Bill is being brought in by the Indian government, which will give citizenship to those minorities which have been persecuted in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh… The AISPLB would like to bring to the government’s notice that Shia Muslims are facing brutalities in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The AISPLB demands that Shia Muslims should be given Indian citizenship because the Indian Constitution views all religions with an equal view,” read the resolution.
Abbas said that AISPLB representatives would meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the inclusion of Shias in the list of protected communities.
Batting for the inclusion of Shia community in CAB protected communities, Shia Central Waqf Board chief Wasim Rizvi also made the same request to the Central government.
Welcoming CAB, Rizvi claimed that the Shia community, which was only 15 per cent as compared to 85 per cent Sunnis, being persecuted not only in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan by majority Sunnis but facing atrocities across the Muslim world – Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, etc -- for being Shia for the last 1400 years.
“Shias are targeted around the Muslim world by majority Sunnis radical Muslims because we refuse to acknowledge ‘controversial caliphates’ dominated by Sunnis after Prophet Mohammad. Rather we acknowledge the family members of the Prophet after his death. So we are being executed by the Sunnis across the world,” said Rizvi seeking a place among other minorities under CAB.
However, the AISPLB resolution also urged the Centre to rethink the NRC issue because some Shia Muslims… had not been able to buy the property or are not part of educational records. Hence, there should be a solution to the problems of Shia Muslims with respect to NRC.