BJP allies back Citizenship Amendment Bill, Shiromani Akali Dal asks why Muslims out

Liz Mathew, Pradeep Kaushal
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Sukhbir Badal. (PTI Photo)

Even as BJP’s allies extended support to the Citizenship Amendment Bill, one of them warned the government that it should not forget that India is a secular country and must consider adding Muslims to the communities that would be given citizenship.

While JD(U) and LJP backed the Bill, Shiromani Akali Dal’s Sukhbir Singh Badal asked, “I just want to request, why don’t we add the names of Muslims in this Bill ?” Supporting the Bill, Badal said there had been several incidents of Sikhs being persecuted in Pakistan and the Bill would be a “lifeline” for those who came to India as refugees, but have been struggling with no records or rights. “SAD has been pursuing their case and we are happy that finally those people who have been there for 30 years can become citizens,” Badal said. He added, “We must not forget that India is secular country.

Read | ‘Today, you are going to commit a big mistake,’ Congress warned BJP on CAB bill

Our party always believed that minorities should be protected. We have to preserve our secular credentials. This Bill affects the minority community. Why don’t we add Muslims?”

JD(U)’s Rajiv Ranjan Singh said this Bill was going to strengthen the spirit of secularism. LJP president Chirag Paswan said the Bill had nothing to do with the minority community in India and that it concerned minorities in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Also read | Owaisi tears Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, says govt hates Muslims

YSRCP backed the Bill, but its MP Mithun Reddy pointed out minority sects like Ahmadiyyas and Bohras have been facing religious atrocities in Pakistan. “Even in our country, minorities feel insecure. I would request the government to move cautiously. There should be a rethinking. We should be accommodating Muslims from Sri Lanka also.”  The AIADMK and the BJD too supported the legislation.

Prashant Kishor ‘disappointed’ at JD(U) stance on legislation

Patna: JD (U) national vice-president Prashant Kishor on Monday took on his party’s silence on CAB and said he was “disappointed” at JD (U) not opposing it. He also wondered why the party, which used the word “secular” thrice on the first page of its constitution, is not opposing it.

Kishor tweeted: “Disappointed to see JDU supporting #CAB that discriminates right of citizenship on the basis of religion. It’s incongruous with the party’s constitution that carries the word secular thrice on the very first page and the leadership that is supposedly guided by Gandhian ideals”.

He later told The Indian Express, “I said what I had to say”. A JD(U) leader said since there had been no clear instruction from party chief and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar on the matter, no party leader had been speaking on the issue. ENS