Ahead of the introduction of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Lok Sabha on Monday (December 9), the Shiv Sena has accused its former ally the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of attempting an "invisible partition" of Hindus and Muslims.
In a strong-worded editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana, the Shiv Sena has asked whether "selective acceptance" of Hindu illegal immigrants will lead to a religious war in India. The Uddhav Thackeray-led party said that the BJP is indulging in "vote bank politics" under the garb of the Bill and this is not going to help the country in the long run.
Questioning the timing of the bill, the Shiv Sena said, "There is no dearth of problems in India now but still we are inviting new ones such as CAB. It looks like the Centre has made an invisible partition of Hindus and Muslims over the bill."
"It is true that there is no other country for Hindus except Hindustan. But by accepting only Hindus among the illegal immigrants, will it be a trigger of a religious war in the country?" it asked.
The Shiv Sena has 18 MPs in the Lok Sabha. The Shiv Sena also said that majority of North Eastern states are not in favour of the Bill and people in Bihar and West Bengal are also protesting against the Bill.
The Sena said that instread of bringing this contentious Bill, Prime Minister Narendra Modi should take action against Pakistan and other neighbouring countries where Hindus are persecuted in the name of relgion. Taking a dig at PM Modi, the Sena that the prime minister has already shown that anything is possible under his regime, "Now, he should ensure that these communities won't have to leave their respective countries with his similar adventurous actions. This would help in strengthening the country's internal security as well," the Saamana editorial said.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill seeks to amend the six-decade-old Citizenship Act and grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan escaping religious persecution in these countries.
According to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), 2019, refugees belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, till December 31, 2014, facing religious persecution there will be given Indian citizenship and will not be treated as illegal immigrants by the Indian government.
"In Citizenship Act, in Section 2 in sub-section (i), in clause (b) the following proviso shall be inserted namely:- "provided that any person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who entered into India on or before the 31st day of December 2014 and who has been exempted by the central government by or under clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 3 of the passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 or from the application of the provisions of the Foreigners Act 1946 or any rule or order made there under shall not be treated as illegal migrants for the purposes of this Act," the Bill said. The Bill added that such refugees will be given Indian citizenship after they have resided in India for five years (six years in CAB 2016), instead of 11 years earlier.
According to proposed Bill, the amendment will not be applicable to the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram or Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution and in the areas covered under The Inner Line, notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873. It is to be noted that the ILP regime is applicable in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram.