Shiv Sena set to back BJP's Citizenship Amendment Bill
Mumbai/New Delhi: In a major development to the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), Shiv Sena on Sunday decided to back the BJP by extending its support to the Bill, according to sources. The Citizenship Amendment Bill is listed to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha by
Union Home minister Amit Shah on Monday. Most Opposition parties including the Congress, CPI(M), most north-eastern parties, AIMIM, Trinamool Congress have openly revolted against the Bill, calling it unconstitutional and against India's secularity.
This move of the Sena backing the CAB is in direct contradiction to its recently formed Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance's stance. Shiv Sena which allied with the Congress, had recently released its "secular" joint Common Minimum Programme (CMP). The CMP's preamble declares that the alliance will take a joint view on matters which have consequences on the "secular fabric of the nation" indicating towards a toned-down right-wing Shiv Sena.
First introduced in the Lok Sabha in July 2016, the Bill was finally passed by the Lok Sabha in January 2019. Protests, which first sprung in 2016, have already reportedly sprung around Assam this week led by the All Assam Students' Union (AASU), which has stated that it will not be accepted by people. Massive faceoff is expected over the Bill in Rajya Sabha where the BJP does not hold an absolute majority.
The Bill amends the Citizenship Act 1955 to make refugees who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship, as explained by PRS.
It also relaxes the terms of naturalised citizenship, from the original 14 years to six years. Anyone belonging to the above-mentioned six religions and three countries can apply for citizenship after residing in India for the stipulated six years.
In the new draft of the Bill, Shah, who met several Chief Ministers and politicians from the North-East, has offered to exempt the inner line permit areas in Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh and areas falling under the Sixth Schedule in the region from the Bill.
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