AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday launched a blistering attack on the Union government in Lok Sabha over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, saying it was aimed at making Muslims "stateless" and will lead to another partition.
Invoking Mahatma Gandhi, Owaisi said he was called Mahatma after he tore the discriminatory citizenship card in South Africa, and the Hyderabad MP then ripped the copy of the bill to highlight his protest, inviting sharp reactions from the treasury benches which described his act an "insult" to Parliament.
Congress leader Manish Tewari on Monday opposed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, in the Lok Sabha and said that it is against Article 14, Article 15, Article 21, Article 25 and Article 26 of the Constitution of India.
Tewari further stated that the foundation for the two-nation theory was laid in Ahmedabad by Veer Savarkar in a Hindu Mahasabha session in 1935 and not the Congress.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.
"This is against Article 14, Article 15, Article 21, Article 25 and Article 26 of the Indian Constitution. This bill is unconstitutional and against basic right of equality," Tewari said, adding, "Today Home Minister said that Congress is responsible for partition on the basis of religion. I want to make it clear that the foundation for the two-nation theory was laid in 1935 in Ahmedabad by Savarkar in a Hindu Mahasabha session, and not Congress," he added.
As per the UN Convention, he said, the government cannot discriminate against refugees on the basis of religion.
Through this Bill, Indian citizenship will be provided to the members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from the three countries to India till December 31, 2014, to put an end to them being treated as illegal immigrants in the country.
Refuting the contention that the Congress was responsible for the partition of the country, Tewari alleged that it was Savarkar who propagated the idea of partition at a Hindu Mahasabha meeting in 1935.
"We're opposing Citizenship Amendment Bill, as it's discriminatory. The argument of persecuted refugees can be dealt with by making separate provisions through an amendment in current law for accommodating refugees. A separate discriminatory law is not needed for it," said Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary.
DMK member Dayanidhi Maran claimed the government has not taken a single step to win the hearts of minorities and the bill was against the spirit of India's age-old ethos of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' (the world is a family).
"You are preoccupied with Pakistan," he said and added that Amit Shah has failed to realise that he is the Home Minister of entire India and not just of North India.
TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee said that his party's idea of India was "inclusive" unlike the ruling party's idea of a "divisive" nation.
"Our India smiles. Your idea of India is based on mob lynching. Let me tell you whatever may happen there wouldn't be any NRC in West Bengal," Banerjee said.
According to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.
Participating in the debate on the bill, Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut said there is no clarity yet on how and in which state these people would be rehabilitated.
He said framing laws is not enough and there is a need to implement them properly.
He also said that while citizenship should be granted, such people should not get voting rights for 25 years.
Raut was of the view that besides Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, refugees from Sri Lanka should also be allowed to get Indian citizenship.
BSP MP Afzal Ansari said, "The National President of BSP, Mayawati ji had earlier only stated that Citizenship Amendment Bill is unconstitutional & opposed it. Today as well, we stand here against the bill."
"We oppose Citizenship Amendment Bill2019, in line with our secular party policy. We strictly follow the provisions & spirit of the Indian Constitution," said TRS MP Nama Nageswara Rao.
"Entire ethos of our democracy is equality and talking about Article 14&15, I am not convinced by Home Minister, it will be struck down in Supreme Court. I request him to rethink of it and please withdraw the bill," remarked NCP's Supriya Sule.
YSR Congress, JD(U) support Modi government
YSRCP and JD(U) on Monday supported the contentious Bill in Lok Sabha.
Participating in the debate on the bill, YSRCP leader Midhun Reddy said his party supports it but has certain concerns and voiced hope that the government will take note of them.
Supporting the bill, JD(U) leader Rajiv Ranjan Singh asserted that the proposed legislation is not against secularism.
(With agency inputs)