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  India   All India  07 Jan 2019  ‘JPC report on Citizenship Bill does not have Oppn approval’

‘JPC report on Citizenship Bill does not have Oppn approval’

Published : Jan 7, 2019, 3:09 am IST
Updated : Jan 7, 2019, 3:09 am IST

BJP ally Shiv Sena says it will oppose proposed citizenship legislation.

Sources disclosed that Opposition members have moved dissent notes to the JPC report on the bill.
 Sources disclosed that Opposition members have moved dissent notes to the JPC report on the bill.

New Delhi: The final report of the joint parliamentary committee (JPC) on the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which will be submitted in Lok Sabha on Monday, does not have the approval of at least four Opposition parties whose members on the panel have moved dissent notes, sources said on Sunday. The Opposition parties —Congress, TMC, CPI(M) and SP — alleged that the bill links religion to citizenship.

Also, BJP ally Shiv Sena has said that it would oppose the Bill after the Asom Gana Parishad appealed to it. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday had reiterated the Centre's commitment to pass the Citizenship Amendment Bill.

The Shiv Sena noted that the proposed legislation would "frustrate" the efforts made under the Assam Accord for safeguarding cultural, social and linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people. Also, the entire process of the National Register of Citizens monitored by the Supreme Court will be meaningless if the bill is passed.

Sources disclosed that Opposition members have moved dissent notes to the JPC report on the bill.  The opposition leaders have also alleged the bill, which seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955, with the aim of granting citizenship to minority communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan - Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians - after six years of residence in India, instead of 11, could end up exposing the ethnic divisions in the state of Assam.

"As members of the joint committee on Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016, we can state that there was no consensus in the committee on the final report. We had been opposed to the bill as it brings out the ethnic divisions in the state of Assam," one of the dissent notes said.

Members of the committee from the Left and TMC said that the committee had visited Gujarat, Rajasthan and Assam where they faced major opposition to the bill.

"In Assam it is more critical issue. During the Assam visit, the committee even faced demonstration. On behalf of the committee, we promised to visit the state again, to talk to more stakeholders about the issue and also assured them that unless we meet again we won't submit the report. Now, it's embarrassing," said a member from the Left.

The opposition parties said that they had objection to the bill which they alleged links religion to citizenship.

"This is the basic objection. So, delink religion from citizenship issue. This is against the spirit of our civilisation, culture and of our Constitution. Citizenship can't be linked with state, religion, caste, creed and be country specific. It should be universal," said another dissenting member.

The members have also raised objections over the way the committee has functioned. They said that they had given amendments to Clause 2 of the bill seeking to eliminate the specific mention of six minority communities and also the names  of neighbouring countries. This was to secularise the bill, the dissent note from the TMC said.

The amendments were defeated in the committee in a vote by the show of hands.

The ruling party mobilised all their members to defeat the amendments.

"We are not happy about functioning of the commission. Since three years of its formation, the sitting was occasion. During the session, the committee sits for three times in  a week. Sometimes no meeting for six months. So the chairman used to put the committee either in top gear or in neutral gear. It was not normal," a Left leader said.

Tags: joint parliamentary committee, citizenship bill