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Include us in citizenship Bill: Shia board

Says the community is persecuted in neighbouring countries; urges the Centre to rethink on NRC

By: Express News Service | Lucknow |
December 9, 2019 4:09:48 am
All-India Shia Personal Law Board (AISPLB), citizenship amendment bill, muslims citizenship bill AISPLB spokesperson Maulana Yasoob Abbas at the Board meeting in Lucknow on Sunday. (Express Photo)

The All-India Shia Personal Law Board (AISPLB) on Sunday decided that it would request the Central government to enlarge the scope of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, or CAB, and include Shias in the list of protected non-Muslim communities, who would be given citizenship, on account of their persecution in the neighbouring countries.

In addition, the board also requested the Centre to review its decision to implement the National Register of Citizens (NRC) across the country.

While CAB seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, NRC counts illegal migrants in the country on the basis of a cut-off date. So far, NRC has been implemented only in Assam, leaving out 19 lakh people. The Centre wants to carry out the NRC exercise across the country. The Bill does not grant citizenship to Muslim refugees from the three countries.

“We are a minority within the minorities in India… If you are taking Buddhists, Jains, Christians under the ambit of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, then you must include Shias as well,” said AISPLB spokesperson Maulana Yasoob Abbas.
The board passed a resolution on its demands on NRC and CAB during its annual meeting of board members.

Headed by Lucknow based cleric Maulana Siam Mehdi, the board was formed in 2005 for the socio-economic and educational uplift of Shias.

“The Citizenship Bill is being brought in by the Indian government, which will give citizenship to those minorities which have been persecuted in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh… The AISPLB would like to bring to the government’s notice that Shia Muslims are facing brutalities in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The AISPLB demands that Shia Muslims should be given Indian citizenship because the Indian Constitution views all religions with an equal view,” read the resolution.

Abbas said that AISPLB representatives would meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for inclusion of Shias in the list of protected communities.

“The AISPLB requests the government to rethink the NRC issue because some Shia Muslims… have not been able to buy property or are not part educational records. Hence, there should be a solution to the problems of Shia Muslims with respect to NRC,” sated the resolution.

“How will people prove their citizenship based on documents. Those who are not literate will find it very hard. We want the government to rethink its stand on the execution of an NRC across India,” said Abbas.

The board also demanded a commission, on the lines of Sachar Committee to study the plight of Shias across India. The Sachar Committee was formed in 2005 to study social, economic and educational condition of Muslims.

“We also demand that the NDA government constitute a commission, like Sachar Commission, that conducts a survey on the condition of Shias… We want facilities for Shias separately. We also want the government to have a separate category for Shias in the next Census report,” said Abbas.

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