Having drawn flak in Punjab for supporting the Citizenship Amendment Act in Lok Sabha, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Friday took a middle path in the Vidhan Sabha asserting that it would not back a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC), defending the National Population Register, and demanding an amendment in the resolution seeking inclusion of Muslims in the list of communities that would be granted citizenship under the amended law.
The amendment was, however, not allowed by Speaker Rana KP Singh. This led to a protest by the SAD members, who opposed the resolution.
Earlier, the Akali Dal that had voted in favour of CAA in Lok Sabha, came up strongly against the NRC. “We strongly oppose any move like the NRC that forces needless hardships on the common people. We will not support this as it would mean people standing in queues to get their name registered,” said party leader Bikram Singh Majithia. He said the Akali Dal had voted in its favour in Lok Sabha as they could not understand what it was then.
Majithia, however, also congratulated Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for bringing a resolution against the CAA in the Assembly.
The Akalis said they were seeking the amendment in the government resolution so that the Muslims also get the benefits being promised to the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Christian and Parsi communities under the CAA.
“The party wants the Congress not to oppose the relief given to thousands of Sikhs, but to focus only on securing relief to the Muslims,” said SAD legislature party leader Sharanjit Singh Dhillon.
Elaborating the difference between the stand taken by the SAD and the Congress, respectively, on CAA on the floor of the Housa, Majithia later told reporters: “There are three bottles of blood and three critical patients in a clinic, each patient needing a bottle. The SAD wants that at least three patients may be saved by giving a bottle each to them, and efforts should meanwhile be made to secure a fourth bottle. But the Congress wants that if the fourth bottle is not found, no one should be given blood and all four patients should be allowed to die. They don’t want to save Muslims; they want to let the Sikhs suffer too”.
Majithia called “redundant and hollow “ and “political posturing”, the announcement by Amarinder Singh on the NPR. “The NPC has been in existence since 1955, further amended in 2013. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Home Minister P Chandambram had been on record saying that there was nothing wrong with the NPC. As such, Amarinder’s statement on the issue is nothing but “empty rhetoric.”
While speaking on CAA, Majithia raised the issue of the wife of a Congress legislator Kaka Randeep Singh Nabha, who is from Afghanistan. Nabha hit back at Majithia for raising the personal issue for politics and stated that his family, following the teachings of Sikh Gurus, respected every religion and community.
CAPT HITS OUT AT SAD
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, in his address in support of the resolution against the CAA, hit out at the Akali Dal saying they were changing stands. “They did something in Lok Sabha, said something else outside and are doing something else here,” Amarinder said.
He said that while following the political agenda they should not forget that the history will never forgive them. Pointing out that Punjab had just celebrated the 550th Prakash Purb of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji, who taught that “koyi Hindu nahin, koyi Mussalman nahin, sab rab key bandey,” Amarinder asked the Akalis if they had forgotten the Guru’s teachings. “You should be ashamed, and you will repent this one day,” he said, adding that he felt bad about speaking in such language but circumstances had made it necessary.
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