Home Minister Amit Shah introduced the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha on Monday amid huge uproar by the Opposition parties who took turns to speak against the proposed law, which seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955.
The home minister has, not only in the Parliament but at several other places, very explicitly said the illegal migrants -- except for Muslims -- who came to the country before December 2014 from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh will be eligible for Indian Citizenship under the new law.
At a time when the Muslim community is already facing so much of discrimination, this law -- when it takes effect -- will open a pandora's box, leading to more discrimination and communalisation in an already communalised society.
This is not the first time when the BJP-led government has attacked the Indian constitution but this certainly is the biggest attack. Abrogation of Article 370 and how they manipulated its clauses, too, had undermined the constitution in a major way.
At this crucial juncture, it's the responsibility of the Opposition to stall the bill in the Parliament; they can stall it in the Rajya Sabha, at least. The proposed law is another step towards relegating Muslims to the status of the second class citizens in their own country.
Let's not forget that this will also be followed by the National Register of Citizens (NRC), and we saw the misery the exercise inflicted on the people of Assam.
Today, if someone asks me if my grandfather was born here, I have no way to prove it. And why should I have to prove? What people in Assam have gone through, and the fact that they are constructing detention centres reminds us of 1930s' Germany.
What we witnessed in Germany back then is what we are seeing in India now. The Bill must be opposed in the strongest possible way and the Indian constitution must be guarded.
(As told to Outlook's Mirza Arif Beg)
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