New Delhi, Dec 11 (IANS) Moving the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 in the Upper House on Wednesday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that the Bill is a ray of hope for minorities living in a very critical situation in India’s three neighbouring countries – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh – along with those who came to India due to religious persecution but have not been given citizenship.
“After independence, it was expected that minority citizens living in East and West Pakistan and Afghanistan will be given all the rights and live with respect. Their customs, cultures and religion would be preserved. Their families would be safe,” said Shah.
The minister said that after decades the reality is totally different. “Rights of minorities living in Pakistan and Afghanistan were not taken care of. When Bangladesh was formed, initially the rights of minorities were taken care. But now around 20 per cent population of people from minority communities in these countries has vanished. Either they have been converted or killed,” he said.
The minister said that because of religious persecution many came to India. “Here also they have not been taken care of. In India also they are fighting for basic rights. This Bill will give relief to the people who have faced religion persecution.”
Shah clarified that during 2019 Lok Sabha elections his party released a manifesto and shared it with the public. “In parliamentary democratic system, the manifesto is a mirror of policies a party is going to introduce. The BJP in its manifesto had declared that minorities who had faced religious persecution would be given Indian citizenship.”
Talking about people claiming that the BJP is doing this for vote bank politics, the minister said, “I want to say that we have kept this issue before the people and they supported and brought us to power. They trusted us that we will bring Citizenship Amendment Bill for the people who had faced religious persecution. We are committed to their rights and our promises.”
He also said that his government is also committed to the concerns of people from Northeast. “We are committed to preserve the culture and customs of northeastern states. We have looked into all the aspects and only then brought the Bill,” he said.
Shah stressed that Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain, Christian, and Parsi refugees should get citizenship in India.
He also pointed out that there are many people spreading misinformation about the Bill that it is against the Muslims and minorities in India. “I want to make it clear that this Bill has nothing to do with Muslims. This Bill is about minorities living in the three neighbouring countries.”