NEW DELHI: Opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Rajya Sabha, the Shiv Sena on Wednesday said the party does not need to prove how "staunch Hindu" and "patriotic" it is and asserted that it is headmaster in the "school" of Hindutva where BJP leaders "study".
The Shiv Sena, which voted in favour of the controversial Bill in Lok Sabha, opposed it in Rajya Sabha, saying the draft law should have been debated on the basis of "humanity not religion".
In his brief speech, senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said, "Since yesterday I am hearing that those not supporting the Bill are traitors and are speaking the language of Pakistan."
"We don't need any certificate to prove how patriotic we are and how staunch Hindu we are. We are headmaster in a school (Hindutva) that you study. Our school headmaster was Bal Thackeray and Atal (Bihari Vajpayee) ji and Syama Prasad Mookerjee. We believe in them," he added.
He was referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's reported comment that some parties were speaking in the same language as Pakistan on the Bill.
Rebutting the prime minister's remarks, Raut said, "This is not the Pakistan assembly. People in India have voted for members sitting in the treasury as well as opposition benches. If you don't like Pakistan's language, there is a majority government which can eliminate Pakistan. We are with you."
Addressing the BJP parliamentary meeting Wednesday morning, Modi said some political parties were speaking the same language as Pakistan, "including the full stop and comma".
Raut, whose party is a former ally of the BJP, further said, "We should discuss this Bill under the prism of humanity, and not religion.
There is a difference between intruders and refugees.
" He said there should not be any "vote-bank politics" while giving citizenship to non-Muslim minorities under the Bill and added that there will be "some balance" if voting rights are not given to them for 25 years.
The Sena recently formed government in Maharashtra along with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
The Bill seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan escaping religious persecution there.