- Citizenship (Amendment) Bill seeks to amend a six-decade-old law
- Sena said "vote bank politics" under CAB not in interest of country
- Sena editorial also questioned the timing of the bill
Ahead of the tabling of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in parliament today by Home Minister Amit Shah, the government was accused of attempting an "invisible partition" of Hindus and Muslims by former ally Shiv Sena. In a sharp editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana, the Shiv Sena has also questioned whether "selective acceptance" of Hindu illegal immigrants will act as a trigger for a religious war in the country.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill seeks to amend a six-decade-old law to make it easier for non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to become Indian citizens. Many opposition parties call the proposed law discriminatory and allege that it is contrary to the basic tenet of secularism enshrined in the constitution of India.
The Shiv Sena - which fell out with the BJP, its ally of over four decades, over power-sharing in Maharashtra and finally took power in an alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress - has joined the opposition chorus.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led party said "vote bank politics" under the garb of the bill (CAB) is not in the interest of the country.
The Sena editorial also questioned the timing of the bill. "There is no dearth of problems in India now but still we are inviting new ones such as CAB. It looks like the Centre has made an invisible partition of Hindus and Muslims over the bill," said the party.
"It is true that there is no other country for Hindus except Hindustan. But by accepting only Hindus among the illegal immigrants, will it be a trigger of a religious war in the country?" the Sena wondered.
The Shiv Sena, which has 18 MPs in the Lok Sabha, also pointed out that most of the states from the North East region have opposed the bill long with Bihar, where the BJP is sharing power with the Janata Dal United and West Bengal.
At the same time, the Sena has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take a strong action against some neighbouring countries that torture Hindus like he had taken against Pakistan.
The Prime Minister has already shown that certain things are "mumkin" (possible), the Sena sneered. "Now, he should ensure that these communities won't have to leave their respective countries with his similar adventurous actions. This would help in strengthening the country's internal security as well," the edit said, apparently referring to the surgical strike and Balakot air strike.
The Sena said illegal immigrants should be sent back to their countries of origin, a stated position of the BJP. "The exact number of such illegal immigrants should be known. If it is in lakhs then where are they going to be settled in India?" the party asked.
Illegal immigrants in Maharashtra are already a strain on local civic bodies, it said. "In such a scenario, states like Gujarat and Karnataka will have to play a major and humanitarian role to accommodate these immigrants," the Sena said in a dig at the BJP which is in power in both the states.