After helping the BJP pass the Citizenship Amendment Bill in parliament, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has for the first time called for a rethink on the controversial legislation, which is widely deemed as anti-Muslim in nature.
Speaking in the Bihar Assembly, Kumar said that a debate was needed on the amended Citizenship Act, also known as CAA. “If people want,” he said, “then there will be a discussion in this house.” Kumar also repeated the stand taken by his colleague Prashant Kishor that there was no question of the NRC and no justification for it.
Kumar has become the first BJP ally to voice its concerns against the CAA. Students and civil rights activists have been staging nationwide protests against the enactment of the law, which provides automatic citizenship to non-Muslim illegal immigrants living in India.
Hundreds of thousands of women in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh area have been camping since the Bill was passed to become a law in the parliament. While several non-BJP chief ministers have announced that they will not implement the CAA in their states, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has come under fire for choosing to not visit the victims of Jamia, JNU terror attack or protesting women in Shaheen Bagh. Many suspect that Kejriwal doesn’t want to upset the core Hindu voters by expressing solidarity with people protesting against what’s deemed as anti-Muslim legislation.
Speaking during the special one-day session of the Bihar assembly council, Kumar also said that a caste-based census was needed since, according to him, it has not been done after 1930.
Kumar was under pressure from his own supporters to take a stand against the CAA, but many felt that he was refusing to speak on the issue due to coalition compulsions since both the BJP and his own party, the JDU, will fight the next assembly elections together.