Reacting to allegations by the Opposition that the recently amended Citizenship law was discriminatory against a particular minority community, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Sunday said 566 Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan were given citizenship till 2014. Dishing out numbers at an event in Chennai, Sitharaman said 391 Afghanistani Muslims and 1,595 Pakistani migrants were given citizenship from 2016 to 2018.
“It was during this period in 2016, that Adnan Sami was given citizenship. Taslima Nasreen is another example. This proves all allegations against us are wrong. In the last 6 years, 2,838 Pakistan refugees, 914 Afganistani, 172 Bangladeshi refugees were given Indian citizenship, which include Muslims too. From 1964-’08 over 4,00,000 Sri Lankan Tamils were given citizenship,” ANI quoted Sitharaman as saying.
Earlier in the day, actor Raza Murad expressed displeasure against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), stating that the law should be equal for all. “Did you give citizenship to Adnan Sami or not? Is he a Muslim or not? He is a Muslim. He was a resident of Pakistan. His father was in the Pakistan Air Force. I have no objection to Adnan Sami’s citizenship. I only object that you are keeping only one community apart and you are showing that they are different. The government should give citizenship to anyone irrespective of religion,” he said.
Hitting out at Murad’s comment, Sami tweeted, “I thought that this guy was a villain and talked crap only in movies!”
The FM expressed grief over people who came from East Pakistan around 50-60 years ago and settled at various camps in India. “People who came from East Pakistan settled at various camps in the country, they’re still there. It’s been 50-60 yrs now. If you visit these camps, your heart will cry. The situation is the same with Sri Lankan refugees who continue to live in camps. They’re barred from getting basic facilities,” she said.
Sitharaman dubbed the proposal of some states on not implementing the Citizenship Amendment Act as ‘unconstitutional’ and said it was the responsibility of all states to ensure that the law passed in Parliament is executed.
“A state assembly has passed a resolution against CAA. It is like making a political statement. We can understand that. But saying they will not implement it, then it is against the law. It is unconstitutional to say that,” she said.
The Kerala government last week moved the Supreme Court against the CAA, seeking to declare it “violative of the principles of equality, freedom and secularism enshrined in the Constitution”. The Congress-led Punjab government also passed a resolution last week seeking repeal of the Citizenship Act.
(With inputs from agencies)
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