Citizenship Bill should be secular: Trinamool Congress

New Delhi, January 8: The Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Tuesday pressed that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 should be secular.

The debate on the controversial Bill has begun in the Lok Sabha on a stormy note.

The MPs shouted slogans in the Lok Sabha, but Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh continued speaking on the Bill. They said the Bill is unconstitutional and goes against the secular principles of India.

“If the Bill is passed, Assam will burn. The Bill will burn not in Assam but the whole of the Northeast. There is a divisive nature to this Bill and that the select committee had shot down all suggested amendments.Muslims are not included among the six religions mentioned in the bill…make it secular. I oppose this Bill. I want this withdrawn,” said Prof Sougata Roy, MP from Trinamool Congress.

Courtesy: All India Trinamool Congress Twitter handle

The Citizenship Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in 2016 to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955. The Bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship.

“As a humanitarian nation, the Bill should be secular. The Bill should also mention immigrants from Sri Lanka and Nepal, a suggestion they had made to the JPC that reviewed the Bill, but it was shot down,” he added.

Roy concluded his talk by urging the Speaker to intervene. “When the Constitution is being threatened, the Speaker should speak up,” Roy said to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.

The TMC members walked out of the House.