CAB meets with staunch criticism, opposition in RS determined

The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), 2019 –though not yet tabled in Parliament—has met with a staunch opposition from parties across the spectrum. It is slated to be tabled next week


Opposition parties including the Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party, DMK, RJD, Samajwadi Party, CPI(M) and AAP and the left constituents have taken a clear stand against the contentious CAB, 2019 bill. JD(U) appears to be supporting it as of now.

The Indian National Congress has also taken a strong stance against the bill with Rahul Gandhi saying, “The Congress party is against any form of discrimination against anybody in this country. So anybody who discriminates against anybody who is Indian, we are against them. That is our line. We believe that India belongs to everybody — all communities, all religions, all cultures.” He also said that the duo (Narendra Modi and Amit Shah) live in their own imaginary world and that has landed the country in trouble.

The CPI(M) has called for joint street protests against the proposed amendments, soon.

AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said the CAB would be used to chase away people of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar from different states, particularly Gujarat. He said, “It is just an exercise to cover up the mess they have created with the NRC in Assam.”

Although AIADMK has not taken a clear stand on CAB, it is unhappy about the exclusion of Tamil Hindus from Sri Lanka in the bill. It all depends on how the politics plays out on the ground in Tamil Nadu, that faces bye-elections soon.

Shashi Tharoor, a prominent MP of Congress while speaking against CAB has said, “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,”

Shiv Sena, a party that has had a tumultuous relationship with the BJP, has also reportedly  decided to oppose the bill in the Parliament.

Voices from Sikkim

Bhaichung Bhutia, leader of the Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP) has pointed out that many states in the north-east have openly opposed the bill even in meeting s with the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah. He further said, “Because of Sikkim’s proximity to Bangladesh, people from there will pose a threat to our state. We have already seen how they have entered places in Bengal, Assam and Meghalaya.”

K.B. Rai, president of the Sikkim Republican Party, said the state would not be spared the burden of accommodating none-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh once the law allowing such persons to become Indian citizens comes into force. “…The local people will be politically decimated,” Rai said.

Congress MLAs in Assam staged a protest against CAB in the Assam Assembly campus as the winter session is in progress there, terming it unconstitutional.

BJP’s defence

Meanwhile CAB is being defended by BJP members, with its General Secretary Ram Madhav saying that amendment is a humanitarian obligation that the country has to fulfil to address the Partition’s fallout, to include refuges who have faced the wrath of partition for years.

It’s all about the numbers

The BJP says it is confident of getting the bill passed even in Rajya Sabha where it does not have absolute majority. The opposition parties, after two rounds of meetings, have admitted that they do not have the numbers to oppose the bill in either house of the Parliament but decided that over the next four days till the legislation is tabled in Parliament, they will run an information campaign calling out on the Bill as “unconstitutional”, “poisonous” and “anti-tribal”.

The meeting attended by senior Rajya Sabha members from opposition parties such as the Congress, Trinamool Congress, DMK, Aam Aadmi Party, Samajwadi Party, CPI and CPI(M), was held in Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad’s chamber. TMC leader, Derek O’Brien said, “This is not about Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha numbers, but about preserving the heart and soul of India and what our founding fathers stood for. All opposition parties have agreed that over the next five days we will expose the complete falsehood of the BJP on CAB. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee has rejected NRC in West Bengal and more states will also,”.

With the bill set to be introduced in a few days’ time, one wonders why the bill has not been made public. Is it to avoid public scrutiny and to keep the element of surprise which has been the party’s tactic for a while now? Is this how this government is going to function for the rest of its term?


Dissent Note: Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016
Anti-NRC sentiment now turns to target NPR: Bengal
Assam simmers over CAB, protests spill over to Manipur too
AAMSU expresses concerns on all India NRC, CAB and clause 6 of Assam Accord
BSP opposes citizenship bill, TMC vague



Related Articles