The DMK, the main opposition party in Tamil Nadu, is all set to launch a massive protest against AIADMK’s support for the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. The Bill, which excludes Muslims from its ambit, was passed in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday with the support of the AIADMK’s 11 MPs. The DMK has called the AIADMK’s support to the Bill a ‘betrayal’, especially since it also excludes Sri Lankan Tamils.
In a statement on Thursday, DMK chief MK Stalin said, “A massive district-wise protest will take place on December 17, 2019 condemning the anti-Tamil AIADMK government’s support to the anti-minority, anti-Tamil BJP government at the Centre.” He added that the Bill would not have passed without the support of the AIADMK. A division of votes in the House saw 125 voting in favour of the Bill while 105 voted against it.
The Bill, which now awaits Presidential assent, guarantees a path to citizenship for persecuted minorities including Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It however leaves out Muslims, thus making religion a basis for citizenship. Opposition parties including the Congress, DMK and VCK had pointed out that the Bill also leaves out Sri Lankan Tamil refugees.
The Bill narrowly passed the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday with the support of 11 AIADMK MPs. Party MPs SR Balasubramaniam and Vijila Sathyananth raised apprehensions with regard to the exclusion of Muslims and Sri Lankan Tamils but supported the Bill anyway.
“It is unconstitutional to link citizenship with religion. #CAB2019 is a direct assault on secularism, equality and fraternity - principles which are essential to any democracy. AIADMK once again stands completely exposed for its decision to support this immoral legislation.” the DMK chief had said soon after the passage of the Bill.
"If you are going to agree to everything the BJP says, then why do you need a separate party? And why include Anna's name in it?" asked Stalin. "The AIADMK which has for its own benefit, made an alliance with the BJP that does not want communal harmony, can no longer talk about support for Sri Lankan Tamils or about welfare of minorities," he said in an earlier statement.
In parliament, DMK MP Tiruchy Siva had moved an amendment to include Sri Lankan Tamils and Muslims in the bill, but it was defeated.