Citizenship bill not listed owing to our 'Opp'n': JD(U)

Citizenship bill not listed owing to our 'Opp'n': JD(U)

PTI file photo.

Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) claimed that its opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) bill, forced the NDA not to list it in the Rajya Sabha business on Saturday.

The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8 amid strong protests in the Northeast but remains pending in the Rajya Sabha.

It was likely to be listed in the Rajya Sabha’s list of business on Saturday.

The JD(U) claim comes on a day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought TMC chief Mamta Banerjee’s support to get the bill passed in the Rajya Sabha.

Addressing a rally in Durgapur in West Bengal, Modi said that the bill's passage was necessary as “persecuted minorities” in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan like Hindus, had no place to take shelter but India.

“Our president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was the first political party leader to oppose the bill and extended support to the protests by various organisations in the Northeast, along with other stakeholders. He also spoke to the BJP leaders to withdraw this bill and our national executive meeting held on July 8, 2018 took a resolution to oppose the bill,” JD (U) general secretary Afaque Ahmad Khan told DH on Saturday.

The bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act 1955 to allow minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan such as Hindus, Christians, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Sikhs, who had migrated to India due to persecution, to apply for citizenship after a stay of six years.

Organisations in the Northeast, however, are against it fearing that it would make a large number of illegal migrants already living in the region Indian citizens and reduce the indigenous people into minorities.

The JD(U) has six MPs in the Rajya Sabha but opposition by other allies of the BJP such as Shiv Sena added to the worry of the NDA.

The JD(U) had also extended support to at least 10 regional parties in the Northeast including eight allies of the BJP, which helped its surge in the region since 2014, to oppose the bill.

The JD (U) said that it was a united fight against “a communal bill.”

A team of at least 70 organisations opposing the bill in Assam, on Saturday met left leaders D Raja and Sitaram Yechuri, AAP and Samajwadi party leaders seeking their help to oppose the bill.