All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) MP Asaduddin Owaisi on Wednesday hit out at the Central government over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, saying that it will “dishonour our freedom fighters” as the proposed law “will be reviving the two-nation theory.”
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill or CAB seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan if they faced religious persecution there.
The Union Cabinet cleared the bill on Wednesday after holding consultation meetings with the leaders of the Northeast where the proposed citizenship rules have faced string protests.
The bill, which proposes to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, is likely to be introduced in the Parliament this week.
“Bringing CAB will be a dishonour to our freedom fighters because you will be reviving the two-nation theory. As an Indian Muslim, I rejected Jinnah’s theory now you are making a law wherein, unfortunately, you will be reminding the country of the two-nation theory,” Owaisi said.
“This law also violates Article 14 and 21 because you are giving citizenship on the basis of religion which contravenes both the Articles. If we pass this law then it will be disrespect towards Mahatma Gandhi and BR Ambedkar Ambedkar, the architect of the Constitution,” the AIMIM chief added.
On the reports that Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram, where Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime is applicable, will be exempted from the purview of the bill, the Hyderabad MP said, “If media reports are correct that Northeast states will be exempted then it in itself is a great violation of Article 14 which is a fundamental right. You can’t have two laws on citizenship in the country.”
Opposition parties including the Congress opposed the bill saying that it discriminates on the basis of the religion of the refugee.
Earlier in January this year, the bill was passed by the Lok Sabha but lapsed with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha as they were not passed by the Rajya Sabha.
The Bill provides for according Indian citizenship to the Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India instead of 12 years currently even if they do not possess any document.