Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal spoke to NDTV on the recently passed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill which aims at giving Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who entered India before 2015. The Congress will challenge the soon to be law in the Supreme Court which has led to violent protests in the Northeast.
Here are the highlights of the exclusive interview:
• I cannot give credence to the words of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister has said too many things on too many matters on too many occasions which were all wrong.
• If the Home Minister says the Bill is valid it doesn't become valid. Thank God he isn't a judge in the Supreme Court.
• We believe the Bill unconstitutional and court will decide on it.
• The principle of equality simple. Unequals can't be treated equally and equals can't be treated unequally. This would be discussed in court. We will also discuss how citizenship has been granted to one set of people and not another set.
• It is true that in these three neighbouring countries (Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh) and even other countries there have been persecutions and the Congress has always helped people and regularised this.
• In Assam, when the NRC was implemented, the BJP didn't realise that the 19 lakh people that were left out most of them were Hindus. Had they been Muslims, the bill would not have come. They tried to approach the Supreme Court but the court said no. So what was the way out? The only way was to have a CAB.
• In Maharashtra, we have a Common Minimum Programme but that doesn't mean the parties don't have their own ideologies.
• Shiv Sena was not present in the House when they voted on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. And even if they did, the BJP would still have the majority.
• We want peace and harmony in Assam. So many houses of MLAs have been burnt, attacked. The BJP didn't think it was necessary to take all stakeholders into account before you brought this Bill.