Citizenship (Amendment) Bill unconstitutional, will stop by any means: Sitaram Yechury

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New Delhi, December 28: Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury today said that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 as unconstitutional and is an “absolute contradiction” to the Assam Accord 1985 and the ongoing NRC update process.

“The bill, as it is now, says that citizenship is based on religion. This is a clear violation of the article 14 of the Constitution of India that clearly provides protection to equality irrespective of religion, caste and creed. This makes the bill unconstitutional, Yechury, who led a protest at Jantar Mantar here against the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the bill’s meeting on December 31.

The JPC led by Rajendra Agarwal consisting 15 other Lok Sabha MP and 10 Rajya Sabha MP will hold a meeting on Monday and will submit their report on January 3 at the ongoing Winter Session of the Parliament.

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“Our representative Muhammad Salim (CPI-M) MP from West Bengal Raiganj) will table his concerns during the JPC meeting on Monday. I am sure other members will also flag the same issue. Even after that If the committee tables a report affirming the bill, then we will voice the same concern in the Parliament again. As a last resort, we will move the Supreme Court, but we will not let the bill passed,” Yechury told media here today.

Talking about the bill’s implication in Assam, Yechury said, “The log struggle that materialised the Assam Accord, 1985 and the amendments made in the constitution to make it possible will all be nulified if this bill were passed. Also, what is the use of updating NRC if the bill provides citizenship to the foreigners? Only Muslims will be left out,” said Yechury.

The bill proposes to amend the 58-year-old Citizenship Act 1955 to provide citizenship to migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who have come here before 2016.

The JPC is pressing on tabling their report by this session that ends on January 3 and along with the last session of the 16th Lok Sabha.