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No political agenda behind CAB: Shah

Shah said that nowhere does CAB target India's minority community, but illegal immigrants would not be allowed to stay in the country at any cost

No political agenda behind CAB: Shah

New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah clarified in Parliament that there is no political agenda behind the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, adding that the Bill does not violate Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

While introducing the Bill in Lok Sabha on Monday, Shah informed the House that nowhere does CAB target India's minority community, but illegal immigrants would not be allowed to stay in the country at any cost.

"It is only a constitutional process to give citizenship to those denied basic civil rights for the last 70 years. Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh have had a history of persecution of religious minorities viz., Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians. Some of them also have fears about such persecution in their day-to-day lives where right to practice, profess and propagate their religion has been obstructed and restricted. Many such persons have fled to India to seek shelter and continued to stay in India even if their travel documents have expired or they have incomplete or no documents," the minister mentioned.

"This Bill contains provisions to grant Citizenship to such refugees on reasonable grounds, which in no way go against any provision under the Constitution of India and does not violate Article 14," Shah assured. He further urged the people of the North-Eastern states, especially the people of Assam, to stop their protest and agitation, saying: "The linguistic, cultural and social identity of the people of the North East would be preserved and this Bill contains the solution to the problems of the people of these States, as the provisions of the amendment have been incorporated after marathon deliberations with various stakeholders from North East for the last one month. I have had discussions of near 119 hours and have considered all the suggestions. The issue should be seen as a humanitarian one, beyond political ideologies."

Talking about another amendment to the Act, the Union Home Minister declared that Manipur will be brought under the Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime. According to Section 6B and sub-section 4 of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, "Nothing in this section shall apply to tribal area of Assam. Meghalaya, Mizoram or Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution and the area covered under 'The Inner Line' notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873."

Also, reassuring people against any harassment, Shah said that a person who makes an application for citizenship would not be disqualified for making the application on the ground that a proceeding is pending against him/her and the application would not be rejected on that ground, if he/ she is otherwise is found qualified for grant of citizenship. Further, the person who makes an application for citizenship would not be deprived of their rights and privileges to which they were entitled on the date of receipt of their application. He informed that the Bill seeks to amend Section 7D so as to empower the Central Government to cancel registration as Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder, after providing a reasonable opportunity of being heard, in case of a violation of any provisions of the Citizenship Act or any other law for the time being in force.

"I want to assure the Nation that this bill is not against any provision of the Constitution of India", he said.

Simontini Bhattacharjee

Simontini Bhattacharjee

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