Govt to introduce CAB on Tuesday, protesters hit Assam streets

NEW DELHI, Dec 5: Notwithstanding stiff opposition, the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is likely to be introduced in Lok Sabha on December 9 and will be taken up for discussion and passage the next day.
The passage of the bill, which seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan escaping religious persecution there, is all but certain in the House given the massive majority the BJP and its allies enjoy there. The bill was cleared by the Union cabinet on Wednesday.
The government on Thursday informed leaders of different parties at the Business Advisory Committee that it will put the bill for discussion in Lower House on Tuesday, official sources said.
The Union government is also confident of its passage in Rajya Sabha with the support of several non-aligned regional parties like the BJD and the TRS, which have often joined the treasury benches in the past, despite vehement opposition by the Congress and strident anti-BJP parties like the TMC, which have been claiming that citizenship can’t be given on the basis of religion.
The Congress, which has termed the bill “divisive” and discriminatory, made it clear on Thursday that it will oppose the draft legislation in Parliament.
Making the party’s stand clear, its leader Rahul Gandhi said in Kerala that the Congress is against “any form of discrimination against anybody in this country”.
Meanwhile, protesters took to the street across Assam against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill on Thursday as the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti said it would move the Supreme Court if the Bill is passed in Parliament.
Workers of several social and youth organisations joined the KMSS in a massive rally here demanding that the Bill be scrapped, while opposition Congress MLAs demonstrated against it in the Assembly premises.
The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and others also took out rallies across the state denouncing the Bill which is likely to be introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 9 and taken up for passage the next day.
Accusing the ruling BJP at the Centre and the state of sacrificing the sentiment of the Assamese people at the cost of vote bank politics, KMSS chief Akhil Gogoi said, “If the CAB is not scrapped, the people will overthrow the Sarbananda Sonowal-led BJP government in 2021 (when Assam goes to polls)”.
The CAB seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, in order to grant Indian nationality to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, who come to India due to religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan even if they don’t possess proper documents.
The indigenous people of the Northeastern states fear that the entry of these people will endanger their identity and livelihood. (PTI)