Asaduddin Owaisi tears citizenship bill in Lok Sabha amid heated debate
The MP said Gandhi was called Mahatma after he tore the discriminatory citizenship card in South Africa, and thus emulating him, he ripped the copy of the bill to highlight his protest.Updated: Dec 09, 2019 22:55 IST
Drawing from Mahatma Gandhi’s example, Hyderabad lawmaker Asaduddin Owaisi tore up the Citizenship (Amendment) bill in Parliament, capping his impassioned plea against the introduction of the bill which he alleged was aimed at making Muslims “stateless”. He also warned that it would lead to another partition.
“The bill is against the Constitution.... It is a conspiracy to make Muslims stateless,” Owaisi said during the debate in the Lok Sabha, questioning the government as to why it had not included countries like China, which occupies parts of India and other countries. “Are you afraid of China?” he asked.
The MP said Gandhi was called Mahatma after he tore the discriminatory citizenship card in South Africa, and thus emulating him, he ripped the copy of the bill to highlight his protest, inviting sharp reactions from the treasury benches which described his act an “insult” to Parliament.
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This an insult to India’s freedom fighters, Owaisi retorted, accusing the BJP-led government of working to marginalise Muslims in the country.
Owaisi alleged the bill was worse than the discriminatory laws brought by Hitler in Germany.
Last week after the union cabinet gave its nod to introduce the bill in Parliament, Owaisi said it is akin to bringing to life Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s two-nation theory.
“Bringing CAB will be a dishonour to our freedom fighters because you will be reviving the two nation theory. As an Indian Muslim, I rejected Jinnah’s theory now you are making a law wherein unfortunately you will be reminding the nation of two-nation theory,” Owaisi was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Defending the bill in the Lower House, where the BJP enjoys huge majority, Home Minister Amit Shah said the bill was needed as the “Congress partitioned this country on the ground of religion”.
“The Congress divided the country on the basis of religion. That was done by the Congress... This is the history,” Amit Shah said.
The bill seeks to amend Citizenship Bill, 1955, and wishes to grant citizenship to illegal non-Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan who allegedly fled from there due to religious persecution and returned to India on or before December 31, 2014.
The bill to relax rules for minorities from the three countries is seen to be designed to insulate non-Muslim communities from these countries, essentially Bangladesh, who may not be able to prove their citizenship.
Shah said the provision to fast-track citizenship for non-Muslims was a “reasonable classification” since the three states were Islamic states and would not persecute Muslims.
The home minister also contested the charge that the bill would disqualify Muslims from the three countries to apply for citizenship.
If any Muslim petitions for citizenship from these countries, “we will consider it with an open mind but they will not get the benefit of this bill” as Muslims wouldn’t have faced religious persecution, the Union Home Minister explained after nearly a dozen opposition parliamentarians spoke against the contentious bill.