Union Home Minister Amit Shah, while replying to the objections of the opposition, said in Parliament today that nobody’s rights were being violated by the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB). There is no injustice happening to anyone, he said.
Earlier, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Manish Tewari of the INC, Afzal Ansari of the BSP and Vinayak Raut of the Shiv Sena had raised various points of objection to the CAB.
Among the surprise elements were the YSRCP, BJD and JD(U) that supported the bill as did the LJP.
The home minister said, responding to the objections raised by the opposition, that the Constitution was accepted by those who came to India in 1947. Shah said that Manmohan Singh and LK Advani fell into the same category as those who have come from outside. “They were given citizenship. They reached big positions,” he said.
“Manmohan Singh became the Prime Minister of the country. There will hardly be any area of the country where refugees from West and East Pakistan do not reside,” Shah said.
Here are the salient things from the reply of Amit Shah in the Lok Sabha.
“Do not view this bill on the basis of any political party. There is a provision for granting citizenship to the religious minorities who have come from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, with which we share our international borders. This bill will liberate millions of people from hellish lives,” Shah said.
The home minister said there was a provision in the CAB to give citizenship to minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
“No one should be abused. Nobody’s rights should be violated. We accept secularism. We respect the Constitution,” Shah said.
Addressing the concerns of some States in the Northeast, Shah said, “The Assam Accord was signed between Rajiv Gandhi and the students of Assam. People have been given citizenship since 1971 and we have always supported it.”
“Refugees from within Bengal and Northeast will be given citizenship from the same date. Ration card will not be needed,” the home minister said.
Shah said, “Whatever action is going on against the minority immigrants will end with the grant of citizenship of India.”
“We are accommodating Manipur with the inner line permit system. The bill contains a response to the concerns of the Northeast. People do not need to agitate. Do not be tempted by anyone. This country wants to move forward in the path of peace,” the home minister said.
Shah said, “We have not brought this bill out of our mind. We have discussed the issue with political parties and NGOs for 119 hours.”
The CAB was part of the 2014 and 2019 manifestos of the BJP. “It is the duty of the government of any country to protect borders, prevent intruders, identify refugees and intruders. Which is a country which has not made a law to give citizenship to people outside?” Shah asked, adding, “We have made such a law. We have made a provision of single citizenship.”
“Should Bangladesh’s minorities not get special treatment? Should the minorities living in Pakistan not get special treatment? It is the responsibility of the government to protect the country’s borders. Tell me which country in the world is such that does not make the law of citizenship to protect its borders and the country,” Shah asked.