Vote against Citizenship Bill, Jawahirullah urges secular parties

Time for parties to walk the talk and safeguard secular India, says MMK founder

December 07, 2019 12:45 am | Updated 12:45 am IST - CHENNAI

M.H. Jawahirullah.

M.H. Jawahirullah.

Manithaneya Makkal Katchi founder M.H. Jawahirullah on Friday demanded that “secular parties” must vote against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in Parliament instead of abstaining from voting after strongly opposing it.

In an interview with The Hindu , Prof. Jawahirullah urged secular parties to walk the talk when it comes to safeguarding secular India by voting against the Bill. “The secular parties that want India to remain secular must support the rights of minorities and understand how myriad issues have affected them. I expect the secular parties to oppose this Bill in both Houses of parliament and not just abstain from it. They should fight this Bill both inside and outside parliament,” he said.

He said the CAB, which seeks to grant citizenship to only non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, was “unconstitutional” and went against Article 14 of the Constitution. “I want to point out first that the National Register of Citizens conducted in Assam had shown that there are 19 lakh illegal immigrants. Out of these, 12 lakh were not Muslims. So, it blew a hole through the argument that a majority of illegal immigrants were Muslims. Also, how can thousands of poor Muslims living in pavements and in slums of New Delhi, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh produce documentation that they are citizens of this country,” he asked.

Prof. Jawahirullah warned that the Muslims of South India should not think that this was an issue predominantly faced by Muslims in North India. “Their sinister agenda is clear when they try to drive a wedge between the minorities by explicitly stating that Christians, Buddhists, and Jains are eligible for citizenship but not Muslims. This is what their (BJP) ideological mentor Golwalkar wanted and explained in his writings: they want Muslims to be second class citizens,” he charged.

Local body polls

The MMK leader disapproved of the manner in which the Tamil Nadu State Election Commission has gone about the process of delimitation for local bodies.

“The delimitation has been carried out with a view to limit the impact of votes of Muslim communities. Also, the Sachchar Committee has said clearly that minorities should be given representation in local bodies,” he said.

Rejecting the argument that measures such as NRC were essential for national security; he said that Indian security forces were capable enough of dealing with such terrorist infiltration.

“This is a fictitious argument. When the BJP was not in power, they triggered riots. When they are in power, they are trying to find legal ways to target Muslims and declare them as second class citizens,” he said.

“When we oppose NRC, it does not mean that we support illegal immigration. If people are migrating to India fleeing persecution from other countries such as Sri Lanka or Myanmar — we must embrace them just like they do in Europe,” he added.

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