AIMIM President and MP Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday caused quite a flutter inside the parliament after he tore a copy of the Citizenship Amendment Bill. Terming the CAB against the ethos of the Indian constitution, Owaisi said that it was intended to divide the nation along the religious lines.
Owaisi was speaking after Home Minister Amit Shah formally introduced the CAB in the Lok Sabha. Shah once again reiterated that the Bill will allow non-Muslim illegal immigrants living in India automatic citizenship. Shah also slammed the Congress blaming the grand old political party for creating the need to introduce the CAB. He said that had the Congress not advocated the division of India along religious lines in 1947, he wouldn’t have been forced to table the Bill in the parliament today.
Shah’s claim evoked angry reactions from Manish Tewari of the Congress, who decided to give the home minister a masterclass on Indian history. A combative Tewari said, ” Today, the home minister said that the 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 the Congress.”
Speaking in the parliament, Owaisi said, “This (the Bill) will turn out to be a failure in every aspect. That’s why I oppose this Bill because this is against the Indian constitution. This is also an insult to those who took part in the freedom struggle in 1857 and 1910.”
Owaisi continued, “How did Gandhi get the title of Mahatma? He had torn the national register card of South Africa. I am also tearing this Bill since this is trying to divide the country.”
The Bill provides automatic citizenship to non-Muslim infiltrators living in the country. These religious groups are Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists and Parsis. The Union Cabinet had cleared Bill last week.
The passage of the Bill will decide India’s future as a secular country since this will be first time the country will legally discriminate against Muslims because of their religious faith.
Home Minister Amit Shah had minced no words while campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal that his government will provide pass laws to grant Indian citizenship to all non-Muslim refugees living in India.
The Bill, which had lapsed in the previous term of the parliament, has already evoked angry reactions from people in the North-East states, where several protests are planned for today. People in the North-Eastern states are angry over Hindus, who arrived from Bangladesh illegally, getting the citizenship status in the region.
The government may have no trouble in clearing the Bill in the Lok Sabha, where it enjoys a massive majority. In Rajya Sabha too, the BJP may get support from its new ‘friends’ such as Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party, which has traditionally sided with the BJP on policy announcements targeting Muslims. The AAP had supported the BJP government’s move to rename Aurangzeb Road in Delhi before supporting the Modi government on launching a crackdown against Kashmir’s 80 lakh population through abrogation of Article 370.
However, parties such as the Congress, Trinamool, DMK, Samajwadi Party, Left and Rashtriya Janata Dal have already opposed the Bill.