This Bill has to be brought to address the circumstances that arose after partition of the country : Home Minister

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Amit Shah`s reply on CAB on December 11 in Rajya Sabha

Union Home Minister and BJP National President Shri Amit Shah replying to the debate in the Rajya Sabha on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 on December 11 said that this Bill had to be brought to address the circumstances that arose after the partition of the country. We are publishing synopsis of the reply for our esteemed readers :

44Members of Parliaments have put their views on this important Bill. All the Members have expressed some suggestions, some objections, some questions, some support in this House according to their views. Some Members also raised the question of what was the need to bring this Bill. This Bill has to be brought to address the circumstances that arose after the partition of the country. Had any Government found a solution before this, I would not have to bring this Bill today. Today I want to make it clear to the people of the country that the Narendra Modi Government has not just come to run the Government, but to improve the country, to solve the country’s problems. Its purpose is not to take any political advantage.

Had this Bill been introduced fifty years ago, the situation would not have deteriorated so much today. The country was divided on the basis of religion and this was the biggest mistake. Due to this mistake, I have appeared here today with this Bill. The Nehru-Liaquat Ali agreement was signed in Delhi on 8 April 1950, which is also known as the Delhi Agreement. In this agreement, both countries promised each other that members of the minority community living in their own country would be assured the freedom to follow their religions in their country and the freedom of occupation, expression and worship. I had also told in the Lok Sabha yesterday that their number came down from 23 percent to 3 percent, from 22 percent to 7 percent. But here muslims also became Chief Justice of India, Chairman of this House, Chief Election Commissioner, President/Vice President. Minorities were protected and promoted here. India kept the promise, but our three neighbouring countries did not keep their promises. They came to this country to save their religion, honour, families and the honour of the women of the families. Through this, we will award them citizenship. After the enactment of this law, when we will say that you will be awarded citizenship from that particular day and we will protect all your belongings, they will fearlessly say that yes, we are refugees, give us citizenship. Then the number of becoming citizens will increase. We have brought the provision of awarding them citizenship with retrospective effect. Regarding the selection of countries, it is to be said that today we have brought this Bill to address the problem of only the religious minority of these three countries adjacent to India’s land borders, who have come as refugees. So these three countries are mentioned in it. It is the responsibility of Governments only. We are fulfilling that obligation. I want to say that Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan are adjacent to the geographical boundary of our country.

The India-Pakistan border is 3,323 kilometers, the India-Bangladesh border is 4,096 kilometers and the IndoAfghanistan border is 130 kilometers long. But they are Islamic states in a way. Regarding not including a muslim in this Bill, I want to tell you that this Bill will provide refuge to the minorities who have suffered religious persecution in these three countries, leaving all the documents regarding their past days which are not there with them, it will award citizenship to them. The religion of those countries is Islam and muslims are not a minority there. If still someone has to apply for citizenship, then there is a provision in the law to do so and we are awarding citizenship to them. Under Modi ji’s rule, we have given citizenship to more than 566 muslim citizens of these three countries in 5 years. Generally, in islamic countries, there is no possibility of religious persecution against the followers of Islam. Therefore, only Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians have been included in it. We are not awarding it to any one religion. We are taking the minorities of these three countries and are taking all the minorities. We are taking a class that has fallen victims of religious persecution. Therefore, I have brought this Bill under the right of this Parliament to legislate on the basis of reasonable classification. An intelligible differentia has been done in it, behind which there is also a Criteria. Nowhere does this Bill violate Article 14 and all other Articles on the basis of intelligible differentia and reasonable classification. In this law both the requirements are satisfied. I am confident that this law will also be found valid in court. We have been saying since 1950 that there should not be Article 370. We have been saying from the beginning that Citizenship Amendment Bill should be brought, we do not have any confusion in it. The UPA government has given concessions twice and among the 13 thousand people who have been awarded concessions, people of only two religions Hindus and Sikhs are there. 13 thousand people of two religions became citizens. But that will not be seen, because what the Congress will do is all secularism. There is no objection to that.

Everyone should have faith in the home minister of this country. The Minority has no reason to worry. This bill is not going to harm any minority living in India and especially Muslim brethrens, there is no question of taking away citizenship through this Bill. India has honoured the Muslims of India. Through this bill, provision has been made to give citizenship to all victims.

A resolution of the Congress Party of November 25, 1947 should be referred but you do not even accept this resolution of the Congress Party. Mahatma Gandhi is respected by all the citizen of the country. If they do not want to stay there, they undoubtedly can come to India and the responsibility of the Government of India is to accept them. The first duty of the Government of India is not only to accept them, but also to give them employment, franchise, and make their lives happy. After the partition of our country, the treatment given to refugees needs to be mentioned. Minorities are facing oppression in countries like Bangladesh. We have a moral obligation to grant citizenship to these unfortunate people. The way of thinking changes as the bench changes. This is a very serious matter. Neighboring countries did not apply the spirit of Nehru-Liaquat agreement. I have not misled the House.

We are also worried about the Partition. The whole country knows that Jinnah was the reason for partition. It is clear that the division of this country on the basis of religion is due to the Congress party. Zoroastrians and Jews came here from there undergoing religious persecution, we made them citizens. A cut-off date has been placed under this bill from the provision of 11 and 1. It is being misrepresented that Durga immersion and Saraswati Puja are banned inside Bengal. India is a democratic country.

The democratic process has never been stopped here. Why three countries have been named this is also being questioned. Hindus, Sikhs and Parsis are minorities so they have been selected. Whenever there was a change in the citizenship under the Congress regime, they were due to a problem. It has been said how this bill will prove that religious persecution has taken place. Every time the Government of India has addressed a problem. Around 8-9 lakh Tamil refugees were granted citizenship. Hence this discrimination has not happened with Tamil Nadu.

Rohingya do not come directly into our country. People should not change approach for power. This bill was supported by the Shiv Sena in the Lok Sabha yesterday. We brought this bill in 2015, even then its provision was the same. Muslims are also taken care of. Surely history will decide why these people were left to the mercy of God for 70 years. The Prime Minister has written history in golden letters by giving justice to Minorities. Narendra Modi never did anything for vote bank politics. The Bill does not in any way weaken the 371F. If Kapil Sibal ji has not said so, then my answer should not remain on record, but if he has said, then my answer must definitely remain on record. There are more than 21 thousand Sikhs living in Delhi. The greed of the vote bank has not closed our eyes and ears. You are wrong to say that the rights of Muslims will be taken away by this Bill. Nobody is taking away their citizenship. It is a bill to give citizenship, not a bill to take citizenship.

I say to the minorities, do not get into propaganda. This bill will not affect the citizenship of the Muslims of India. Those who are citizens of India will not be affected by this bill in any way. There is no proposal to take citizenship of anyone within the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis who are a persecuted minority have been proposed to be given citizenship. The idea of India is known to me. It is the primary responsibility and commitment of the Narendra Modi government that every citizen of the country gets his rights. The Narendra Modi government has only one religion which is the constitution of this country. Which never allows this country to become Muslim free. Many members raised the subject of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees. Citizenship has been given to Sri Lankan citizens by all parties of the Government of India from time to time. There is no question of thinking of injustice with anyone. When we take a problem, we try to solve it completely. Both of these passport acts have been changed in 2015 and 2016 itself. Neither the CAB, nor Article 370, nor the triple talaq is anti-Muslim. It is a bill giving rights to crores of Muslim sisters in the country. Apart from Hindus, minorities also live in Kashmir. Even after the removal of Article 370, there is still peace in Kashmir and all Muslims are living in peace.

Both members of Assam have expressed their concerns. Clause 6 seeks concerns for the minimum reservation for them. Clause 6 was never given actual shape. Clause 6 was given only on paper to the people of Assam. We will follow the Assam Accord in full. All the brothers and sisters of Assam are assured that we will worry about their language, literature and dialect. The purpose behind telling some things is that this House and the people of the country should come to know some reality. We are hoping to live with honour, that is why this bill is being passed. In Refugee camps, the biggest problem for Refugees is to give their identity. We are considered to be Pakistani here so we hide our identity. With the coming of this Bill, we will say with respect that we are citizens of India. To honour all of them, the government has brought the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. The “Nikhil Bang Citizens Association” also said that we were tortured there. It is very easy to ask the technical figure here. Many things were questioned. The statements of Congress leaders and the statements of leaders of Pakistan often get mixed up. Why did the Congress party oppose the Enemy Property Bill?

The atrocities committed on minorities within these three countries are necessary to be mentioned. Sikh and Hindu girls were kidnapped and forcibly converted inside Pakistan. The 2014 report of the UNHRC stated that only 20 out of 428 Hindu places of worship remain intact there. In the year 1947 there were 23 percent religious minorities which has now reduced to 3.7 percent. When Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s was there in Bangladesh, everything went well. As soon as Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s Government lost power, there were atrocities on religious minorities.

Many Bangladeshi Hindus had to come here for shelter. Kaivalyadham in Chitgong was attacked in October 1990, in which 300 houses were set on fire. Once 200 Hindu women were gang raped there. The present government is concerned about religious minorities there. But there was a time when these people were tortured very much there. There were two lakh Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan before 1992. According to a report of the United Nations of 2018, now there are only 500 Sikh and Hindu families left there. There have also been many atrocities on Christians within Pakistan. They are considered untouchable community there.

Their life has become very pathetic. They have been forced to live in slums in a state of extreme poverty. The Bill that the Government has brought is not meant to hurt anyone’s feelings. It is not meant to make people of any religion or community miserable. There will be no injustice to the minorities and Muslims of this country. We have not done injustice to the followers of any religion anywhere in our country. It has been a proud history of our country. The present Government will also maintain this belief. Every country has made its own laws. We are also making our law. Not everyone can get citizenship here. We have brought this Bill for a special category. I request all of you to support this Bill.