Proposed Citizenship (Amendments) Bill Unconstitutional, Reject it!
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10 September 2019

NPR Press Statement

Proposed Citizenship (Amendments) Bill Unconstitutional, Reject it!

Home minister Amit Shah has once again arrogantly asserted that Modi-2 shall get the Citizenship (Amendments) Bill, 2016, (CAB) adopted at any cost. This Bill for amending the 1955 Citizenship Act was introduced in Lok Sabha on July 19, 2016. Lok Sabha passed it on January 8, 2019. Now, according to his statement, BJP is planning to get it passed somehow in the Rajya Sabha, or if not possible, get it passed by a joint session of parliament. This bill is for granting citizenship to migrants (from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan) including Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian, but totally excluding Muslims. Against this, in 2016 itself there were protests from the Northeastern states where BJP’s allies are in power. Now Amit Shah has issued the statement after attending the meeting of the chief ministers of Northeast and, it seems, winning over them by giving assurance that Article 371, giving certain special powers to these states will not be amended.

The Citizenship Act of 1955, a result of the freedom movement, recognized that every person who was born in India, irrespective of religion, would be eligible for citizenship. Another method of obtaining citizenship was through descent – if either parent was a citizen of India. A third method of obtaining citizenship was by registration of the migrants/refugees, or by the method of naturalization . The preamble of our constitution calls India a secular country. Article 15 of the constitution prevents discrimination, by the state, against any citizen on the basis of religion. It is clear that the proposed law is against the right to equality and the right against discrimination given by the constitution. These amendments show BJP government’s intention to follow Israel, the only country which allows citizenship on the basis of religion. This too is not on the basis of “naturalization” but on the basis of the unique “right of return”, a special Israeli law. All Jews have the right to return to the “promised land”! In fact, the true intentions behind the new citizenship amendments put forward is to establish the “right of return” to “Akhand Bharat” of RSS. They would like the whole of the sub-continent to become a part of a great Hindurashtra!
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Notification on 31st July, the Central Government has already decided to prepare and update the National Population Register(NPR) on a time bound manner, as the NRC/Assam was finalized, by starting the field work for it from 1st day of April, 2020 to 30th September, 2020. The final list of NRC/Assam has announced more than 19 lakhs residents of Assam as stateless has already created a huge humanitarian challenge, as they will be thrown to the Detention Camps, if they cannot get any relief from the Foreigners’ Tribunals or from the higher courts. If this CAB is passed and becomes an act, and the NPR process is taken up based on it with the aim of driving out ‘all migrants’, , besides forcing the whole population to prove their citizenship, it is apprehended that almost 20 to 30 million people, who are presently staying in India, may lose citizenship. It will create a horrific situation and an unprecedented humanitarian tragedy, which will gladden only the saffron fascists.

Citizenship is the fundamental right of everyone based on their residency and birth. So, along with intensification of the struggle for the issuing citizenship to all the 19,06, 657 people kept out of the NRC/Assam final list, we have to intensify the campaign to create public opinion to throw out the monstrous CPB and the proposed NPR as unconstitutional and against all international covenants

KN Ramachandran, General Secretary, CPI(ML) Red Star

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