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Senior Opposition leaders call Citizenship Bill ‘unconstitutional’

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor arrives at Parliament to attend the ongoing Winter Session, in New Delhi on November 29, 2019.

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor arrives at Parliament to attend the ongoing Winter Session, in New Delhi on November 29, 2019.   | Photo Credit: PTI

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Violates basic tenets of Indian Constitution, says Sitaram Yechury; religion cannot determine nationahood, says Shashi Tharoor

Senior Opposition leaders, including Congress leader Shashi Tharoor and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Wednesday asserted that the Ctizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) 2019 “violated the basic tenets” of the Indian Constitution.

“I think the Bill is fundamentally unconstitutional because the basic idea of India has been violated in the Bill. Those who believe that religion should determine nationhood... that was the idea of Pakistan, they created Pakistan. We have always argued that our idea of nation was what Mahatma Gandhi, Nehruji, Maluana Azad, Dr. Ambedkar have said — that religion cannot determine nationhood,” Mr. Tharoor said.

“Ours is a country for everybody and everybody, irrespective of religion, has equal rights in this country, and the Constitution that they wrote reflected that. Today, this Bill undermines this fundamental tenet of the Constitution,” he added, but called these his personal views.

Assam protests

Former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi indicated that the party’s State unit would move the Supreme Court against the Bill as it violates the 1985 Assam Accord.

“The Bill will also affect [our] culture, language and even our political power,” Mr. Gogoi said, as the issue had led to protests in Assam earlier, when the government had brought the Bill.

Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, however, said the party would decide its official stand on the Bill after seeing in what form it is introduced in Parliament.

Also read | A Bill that undercuts key constitutional values

“We will have to see in what form, [and] manner the Citizenship Bill is brought, then we will decide on our stand. We get to know from the media, the changes they are bringing. But we will have to see the Bill and see what changes have been made,” Mr. Chowdhury said at a press conference here.

Calling it unconstitutional, the CPI(M) has demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Bill.

‘Unacceptable’

“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,” Mr. Yechury said in a tweet.

“We are opposed to this. By abrogation of Article 370 they plunged Jammu and Kashmir into turmoil and now, by bringing the Citizenship Amendment Bill they will push the whole country to the brink, especially the northeast,” Communist Party of India general secretary D. Raja said.

 

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 5:11:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/citizenship-bill-undermines-fundamental-tenets-of-constitution-says-shashi-tharoor/article30162001.ece

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