India’s Citizenship Amendment Bill, which was cleared by the Lok Sabha on Monday, has upset Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. Condemning the move, Khan termed it a part of the "RSS ‘Hindu Rashtra’ design of expansionism". "We strongly condemn Indian Lok Sabha citizenship legislation which violates all norms of int human rights law and bilateral agreements with Pak. It is part of the RSS "Hindu Rashtra" design of expansionism propagated by the fascist Modi Govt," Imran Khan said in a tweet.
Khan’s statement is on expected lines as he sees the current dispensation as majoritarian that believes in the idea of a ‘Hindu Rashtra’. The Pakistan Prime Minister had slapped the same ‘Hindu Rashtra’ charge when the Modi government stripped Jammu and Kashmir of special status granted to it under Article 370. The reason why Imran Khan is perturbed is because the new Citizenship Bill does not have a provision to grant Indian citizenship to Muslims coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
The Bill clearly states that people from six identified minority communities - Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians - from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh will be granted citizenship of India. The Bill excludes Muslims from getting citizenship if they are from any of the above-stated countries. This has upset the Opposition with many leaders claiming that the Bill will not pass the scrutiny of the Supreme Court as it goes contrary to the Constitution and the provision of the right to equality.
The opposition parties including Congress called it ‘discriminatory’ which undermines the secular fabric of India. Congress leader P Chidambaram said that the bill is unconstitutional. "Parliament passes a Bill that is patently unconstitutional and the battleground shifts to the Supreme Court. Elected Parliamentarians are abdicating their responsibilities in favour of lawyers and judges!" he said in a tweet.
Home Minister Amit Shah, the key architect of the bill, defended the legislation saying that it has nothing to do with Muslims as it only talks about the citizenship to the persecuted minority in our neighboring countries that have certain state religion. Responding to why he did not include Muslims, Shah said that all three countries that the bill mentions are Muslim-majority nations which is why they are not included.
Shah says that the bill takes care of minorities in three countries who have suffered immensely at the hands of the majority in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.