TMC, other parties to oppose tinkering with Citizenship Act
Terming it as an “attack on secular fabric of the country”, the ruling Trinamool Congress on Wednesday said it would oppose the proposed amendment to the Citizenship Act 1955 tooth and nail in Parliament.
“We have decided that we will oppose the amendment on the floor of the Parliament. This amendment is an attack on the secular fabric of our country. How can there be discrimination on the basis of religion?
“If you are Hindu, you will be eligible and if you are Muslim, you will be kept out? Our constitution does not allow this. The West Bengal government will also oppose it,” TMC MP Saugato Roy said. The proposed 2016 Amendment Bill of the Citizenship Act 1955 is currently under consideration of the Joint Select Committee of the Parliament of which Roy is a member.
TMC Rajya Sabha M P, Derek O’Brien who is also a member of the select committee, said, “We are strongly opposing the proposed amendments”.
O’Brien, also the TMC’s national spokesperson said, “The Parliament select committee is discussing this. We are strongly opposing the proposed amendments for at least half-a-dozen reasons. It goes against the spirit of the constitution,” he said.
Except BJP, all other parties, intellectuals, student bodies and social organisations in Assam have opposed the proposed Amendment Bill.
Even Asom Gana Parishad, NDA member and part of the ruling coalition in Assam, has opposed the Bill and said any deviation from the Assam Accord will not be acceptable.
The Citizenship Act, passed in 1955, defines the concept of Indian citizenship, and lists out ways to acquire the same, explicitly denying citizenship to all undocumented migrants.
The Central government had introduced a Bill in Parliament in July last to amend the Act so that Hindus, Sikhs and minorities of other nations (Pakistan, Bangladesh) could be granted citizenship even if they do not provide required documents.