In President Ram Nath Kovind’s address, spotlight on Citizenship Act and a jibe at Pakistan
President Ram Nath Kovind spoke about the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA in his address to both Houses of Parliament marking the beginning of the budget session on Friday.
“In the times after Partition, Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi had said that those Hindus and Sikhs who don’t want to stay in Pakistan, can come to India. It is the duty of the government of India to give them a normal life. I am happy that both Houses of Parliament passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Act to fulfill the dreams of those who built our country,” the President said.
The treasury benches in the Lok Sabha welcomed this statement with many parliamentarians, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Amit Shah (who piloted the bill in Parliament) thumping theirs desks in appreciation.
Watch l ‘CAA fulfilled Gandhi’s dream’: President Kovind; opposition creates ruckus
“All of us know that minorities have been facing oppression in Pakistan over the years. The recent incident in Nankana Sahib is a proof. It is our duty to let the whole world know what is really happening in Pakistan. I condemn the oppression of minorities in Pakistan and urge the international community to take notice,” the President further said, which was again given a thumbs up by the government. Some Opposition members, however, raised slogans during the address.
President Kovind further said, “The government has made provisions to ensure that the culture of those living in the Northeast is not impacted due to CAA.”
The CAA seeks to fast-track citizenship to persecuted minorities from three neighbouring countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. It lists six religious minorities and leaves out Muslims which has given rise to protests all across the country.
The protesters have accused the government of dividing the country on religious line with the act. But the Centre has maintained that the CAA will have no impact on the Muslims living in India, and has refused to scrap the law.
The most vehement protests were launched in the Northeast where the native population feared a demographic change due to influx of migrants from Bangladesh. But the government included most of the northeastern states under Inner Line Permit (ILP) to assure the region that their cultural identity will be protected. The ILP is an official travel document issued by state government to allow inward travel of a citizen. It is applicable in protected states.
The first phase of the budget session will conclude on February 11, while the second part of the session will begin from March 2 and end on April 3.