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Friday, Dec 06, 2019

‘Reviving two-nation theory’: Asaduddin Owaisi on Citizenship Bill

Earlier today, the Union Cabinet cleared the Citizenship Bill that seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan if they faced religious persecution there.

india Updated: Dec 05, 2019 11:13 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) boss Asaduddin Owaisi . (ANI photo)
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) boss Asaduddin Owaisi . (ANI photo)
         

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) boss Asaduddin Owaisi said the Centre’s decision to bring in Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) is akin to bringing to life Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s two-nation theory. During the freedom struggle, Jinnah championed the two-nation theory which sowed the seeds of discord and ultimately resulted in India’s partition.

“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.

Earlier today, the Union Cabinet cleared the Citizenship Bill that seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan if they faced religious persecution there.

Also Watch l Explained | Citizenship Amendment Bill: The content, the controversy 

Opposition parties, including Congress among others, have opposed the Bill arguing that the Constitution does not permit granting of citizenship on the basis of religion.

“This law also violates Article 14 and 21 because you are giving citizenship on the basis of religion which contravenes both the Articles. If we pass this law then it will be a disrespect towards Mahatma Gandhi and Ambedkar, the architect of the Constitution,” the Hyderabad MP said.

The Bill is aimed at providing citizenship to six communities— Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists and Parsis. Notably, the Muslims find themselves excluded from the list.

States in the northeast where the Inner-line-Permit (ILP) is applicable — Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland and regions under the Sixth Schedules — will be kept out of the CAB.

Reacting to this exception, Owaisi said: “If media reports are correct that Northeast states will be exempted from proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) law then it in itself is a great violation of Article 14 which is a fundamental right. You can’t have 2 laws on citizenship in the country.”

On Tuesday, defence minister Rajnath Singh, in an address to BJP parliamentarians, had said the bill will be placed before the House soon.

The minister dismissed the Opposition’s objections over the bill and said the BJP had always worked to unite the country. “If religious minorities are being persecuted in those countries, it is our duty to deliver justice to them. It is not linked to any religion,” Singh said.