Citizenship cannot be determined by or linked to religion, bill unconstitutional: CPI(M)

New Delhi, Dec 4 (PTI) The CPI(M) opposed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill on Wednesday, saying it was 'unacceptable and unconstitutional' as citizenship could not be determined by or linked to religion.

Earlier in the day, the Union cabinet cleared the bill that seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, if they have faced religious persecution there, sources said.

'It is simple. Citizenship cannot be determined by or linked to religion. This is what makes the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) unacceptable and unconstitutional. The CAB is aimed at destroying the basis of India.

'India's citizens are its citizens, irrespective of what faith they follow or don't, what they eat, what work they do, their caste, creed, place of residence, gender or colour of skin. No to Citizenship Amendment Bill,' Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said in a tweet.

Demanding that the bill be withdrawn, he said it was not just a change in the existing statute.

'The Citizenship Amendment Bill has reportedly been cleared by the Cabinet. But it must be withdrawn as it isn't a mere change in the statute. If passed, it will fundamentally alter the character of the Indian Republic,' the Left leader said in another tweet. PTI ASG RC