The Citizenship Bill has flaws, BJP has to first prove Religious Persecution in Bangladesh: Bhubaneswar Kalita
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The Citizenship Bill has flaws, BJP has to first prove Religious Persecution in Bangladesh: Bhubaneswar Kalita

Chetan Bhattarai | January 12, 2019 16:08 hrs

GUWAHATI: Senior Congressman and Rajya Sabha member Bhubaneswar Kalita has termed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 as Bharatiya Janata Party’s election ploy.

Talking to G Plus Bhubaneswar Kalita said, “If religious persecution has happened in Bangladesh it will be an international issue. Bangladesh will go to the International Human Rights Commission (IHRC) as they have made it clear that no religious persecution of the minorities is happening in their country.”

Taking on NEDA (North East Democratic Alliance), Convenor and BJP leader Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma’s arguments, Bhubaneswar Kalita said that Dr. Sarma, who has been spearheading the campaign for the Bill from Assam goes to visit temple in Dhaka. If there was religious persecution, how did he manage to go there so many times?”

“We have to understand that the name of our neighbouring country Bangladesh with whom we have cordial relations has been tarnished and they are not going to take it easily. They will escalate the matter in the international forum and that won’t be a good thing. The BJP government will have to prove first that religious persecution to these minorities has been done in Bangladesh before we move ahead with the Bill. Look at how the Rohingiya crisis has marred Myanmar and the type of international pressure is on Aung San Suu Kyi,” said the Bhubaneswar Kalita.

The Congress leader termed the BJP’s action as an election time political move.

“The BJP is doing it keeping the upcoming general election in mind and also to influence Hindu-Bengali voters from West Bengal. But the political parties from West Bengal have vehemently opposed the Bill in the parliament. They are not in favour of this controversial Bill. The Silchar rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a calculated move to start the election campaign and hence this Bill. During the campaign of the Lok Sabha polls the BJP will tell the public that they have tried to pass the Bill and so they should be voted. This is a pure electoral politics from their part. It is just like the Ram Mandir movement which has been dragging for years. It is a strategy to ask votes and they will try to let it burn as it will give them the opportunity to ask votes in the name of the Bill,” explained Bhubaneswar Kalita.

Bhubaneswar Kalita also said that the Bill had many flaws and the criteria would not help those who are residing in Assam. The major flaws are basically violation of Article 14 of the Constitution by giving citizenship on the basis of religion and cut off date after 1971 of the Assam Accord.

“The Congress party has started briefing its workers about the Bill and the flaws that it has. There are many flaws in the Bill which have to be taken to the public through our grassroots workers. The people in Assam need to know who are eligible and who are not as per the provisions of the Bill. There is division of opinion among our workers, too, due to the not understanding the Bill properly. All these things have to be kept in mind before the Bill is put for vote in the Upper House," added Bhubaneswar Kalita.

Kalita said that the government has introduced the Bill and listed it in the Supplementary List in Rajya Sabha but arguments and discussion remain before it is passed.

“People have been misled regarding the Bill and the whole state has been affected. It is the duty of the government to maintain peace. The Bill has generated public anger and the government has to maintain law and order in the state to avoid untoward incidents,” said Bhubaneswar Kalita.

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Bhubaneswar Kalita

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