AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday launched a blistering attack on the Union government in Lok Sabha over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, saying it was aimed at making Muslims "stateless" and would lead to another partition.
Invoking Mahatma Gandhi, Owaisi said he was called Mahatma after he tore the discriminatory citizenship card in South Africa and the Hyderabad MP then ripped the copy of the bill to highlight his protest, inviting sharp reactions from the treasury benches which described his act an "insult" to Parliament.
“The Bill is an insult to India's freedom fighters,” Owaisi retorted, accusing the BJP-led government of working to marginalise Muslims in the country.
Owaisi alleged the bill was worse than the discriminatory laws brought by Hitler in Germany.
"The bill is against the Constitution.... It is a conspiracy to make Muslims stateless," Owaisi said during the debate in the Lower House, questioning the government as to why it had not included countries like China, which occupies parts of India and other countries.
"Are you afraid of China?" he asked.
At the stroke of midnight hour, while the world slept, India’s ideals of liberty, equality, fraternity and justice were betrayed— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) December 9, 2019
I fought hard against it & I promise every Indian that this fight isn’t over
Don’t let hopelessness come near you
Be defiant, be strong https://t.co/X5qtEU0Pvt
The Lok Sabha passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan after facing religious persecution there, a little past midnight on Monday after a heated debate that lasted over 12 hours.
The Bill, which was passed in the Lok Sabha with 311 members favouring it and 80 voting against it, will now be tabled in the Rajya Sabha for its nod.
Several amendments brought by opposition members, including one by a Shiv Sena MP, were defeated either by voice vote or division.
According to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 facing religious persecution there, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.
Opposition leaders Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Saugata Roy, N K Premchandran, Gaurav Gogoi, Shashi Tharoor also opposed the introduction of the bill, saying it was violative of various provisions of the Constitution, including move to grant citizenship on the basis of religion.
The tabling of the emotive bill through division of votes came in the wake of protests and incidents of violence in Northeastern states with most of the student unions and regional political parties opposing it, saying it will nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985, which fixed March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for deportation of all illegal immigrants irrespective of religion.