UPA allies DMK and the NCP on Monday lashed out at the BJP government over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, accusing it of stoking fear in the hearts and minds of Muslims. The two parties also questioned why the government is leaving out Sri Lanka, Maldives and Nepal and focusing only on refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
The two parties also asked the government to explain the procedure if an atheist from these countries wishes to apply for citizenship. DMK’s Dayanidhi Maran said the Bill was against the spirit of India’s age-old ethos of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (world is a family) and asked why the government is “preoccupied with Pakistan.”
“…You are not the Home Minister only for the northern part of India. You are the Home Minister for the entire country of India. We have Sri Lanka… Maldives…They are also our neighbours…,” he said.
NCP’s Supriya Sule asked whether the government has brought the Bill because the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise “failed” in Assam. She also asked why the government has kept out Maldives, Sri Lanka and Nepal. “When India is taking the high moral ground, why are we leaving these three countries?” she said.
Maran sought several clarifications. “Kashmir is a part of India. What if Muslims who are living in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir want to come to India…What about atheists… Taslima Nasreen was given asylum in India because she was an atheist,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti, which has in the past supported many of the contentious legislations, opposed the Bill saying it is discriminatory. TRS member Namo Nageshwara Rao asked the government to also bring Muslims under the purview of the Bill.