Citizenship Amendment Bill in Winter Session?

Union Home Minister Amit Shah. (PTI file photo)

BJP is hopeful of passage of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in winter session of Parliament that concludes on December 13 as Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday began a series of meetings with Chief Ministers of North Eastern states and other stakeholders including political parties.

This despite the fact that Opposition parties in closed door meetings with the government have earlier asked it “not to spring a surprise” like the August 5 decision on abrogation of provisions of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir and dividing the state into the two categories.

\As Shah began consultations for the CAB, 12 non-BJP MPs wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to keep out the North-Eastern states from CAB’s preview, apprehending that if it was implemented, it will render large number of  tribals living in the region vulnerable to displacement.

BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, however, told Deccan Herald “We are hoping that in this Parliament session, the Citizenship Amendment Bill will be passed. It was to happen in the last session of the previous Parliament itself. It was passed in Lok Sabha but could not be placed before Rajya Sabha for want of time.”

He said that since the Bill lapsed now, it will be placed before both the Houses afresh.  

Before being brought to Parliament, the Bill that lapsed due to the dissolution of the last Lok Sabha, will have to be okayed by Union Cabinet, which is likely to take it up next week.

The CAB, which seeks to bring amendments in the Citizenship Act, 1955, strives to grant Indian nationality to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who come to India after facing religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

CAB has been a key poll promise of the BJP in last two Lok Sabha polls, The BJP has faced opposition from a number of organizations in North East, which held that the proposed amendments will nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985 that had fixed March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date for deportation of all illegal immigrants irrespective of religion.

Asked about apprehensions, concerns and criticism of the Bill, Madhav, however, said these apprehensions being deliberately created by certain opposition parties and groups specially in some regions of the country and assured that no genuine Indian citizen needs to be worried about CAB.

The deliberations that Shah began with stakeholders on Friday  will conclude on December 3 and by the time he would have already talked to arious socio-cultural bodies, North East Students' Organisation, All Bodo Students' Union and students bodies from Meghalaya, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. Shah will meet the Chief Ministers on Saturday.

In Parliament, the bill has been opposed tooth and nail by parties like Congress, Trinamool Congress and Communist Party of India (Marxist) along with few others.  However, the entire Sangh Parivaar is strongly for the Bill.

The group of 12 MPs, who on Friday wrote to the Prime Minister against the Bill was led by Congress MP from Shillong H Vincent Pala.  The MPs raised strong objection to the passing and implementation of CAB in their region. While none of BJP MPs from North East signed, BJP MP from Manipur Rajkumar Ranjan Singh had, earlier, requested the Home Ministry to exempt his state from the purview of the Citizenship Amendment Bill.

At a meeting of top security agencies, Centre had earlier this week reviewed the security situation in the North East after protests against the CAB.

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