NEW DELHI: Even as Union Home Minister Amit Shah stressed that Indian Muslims don’t need to fear the Citizenship Amendment Bill, many senior leaders from opposition parties raised strong objections to the exclusion of Muslims from the list of religious communities persecuted for their faith, while opposing the Bill in the Rajya Sabha. Congress leaders Kapil Sibal and Ghulam Nabi Azad, Manoj Jha from RJD, AAP leader Sanjay Singh, Derek O’ Brien of Trinamool, BSP’s Satish Misra and several other MPs from the Left and TDP raised questions on the exclusion of Muslims.
Registered his protest against the Bill, Sibal said it gives “legal colour to the two-nation theory!” “They are targeting a community without naming it, but we know your target. We know you brought love jihad, ghar wapsi and what you did with Article 370, but no Muslim in India is afraid of you.
We fear the Constitution. This Bill is exclusive and divisive... It will have consequences that we can’t even imagine.” Samajwadi Party MP Javed Ali Khan made an impassioned plea against the Bill, asking “if Indian Muslims have become second-class citizens” and said the government was trying to make India Muslim-mukt and trying to fulfill Jinnah’s dream.
Citing Shah’s opening remarks that the Bill had absolutely nothing to do with Muslims, Khan, “Why? Are we not citizens of the country?” Abdul Wahab of IUML called CAB the “final nail in India’s democracy” while PDP MP from J&K Mir Mohd Fayaz, too, made an emotional plea. “We came to secular India in the hope of equality, rather than going to Muslim-majority Pakistan. I think my ancestors were wrong. Now Muslims are being targeted and discriminated against ever since the government came to power,” he said.
Referring to the oppression faced by Muslim women in Afghanistan by the Taliban, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad asked, “Who says that Muslims are not persecution in the countries you have chosen?”
Responding to the debate, Shah tried to allay the fears and said, “Muslims should not worry...India can never become Muslim mukt...Muslims of this country have lived a life of honour and will continue to do so.”