Withdraw ‘discriminatory’, ‘divisive’ CAB: Artistes, writers, ex-judges to govt

NEW DELHI, Dec 10: About 600 artistes, writers, academicians, ex-judges and former bureaucrats have asked the government to withdraw the citizenship amendment bill, terming it “discriminatory, divisive,” and violative of the secular principles enshrined in the constitution.
In an open letter, they asserted that the legislation will fundamentally alter the character of the Indian republic and threatens the federal framework provided by the constitution.
The signatories include historian Romila Thapar, author Amitav Ghosh, actor Nandita Das, filmmakers Aparna Sen and Anand Patwardhan, activists Yogendra Yadav Teesta Setalvad, Harsh Mander, Aruna Roy and Bezwada Wilson, former Delhi High Court chief justice AP Shah and the country’s first CIC, Wajahat Habibullah, among others.
“All of us from the cultural and academic communities condemn this bill as divisive, discriminatory and unconstitutional. It will, along with a nationwide NRC, bring untold suffering to people across the country. It will damage, fundamentally and irreparably, the nature of the Indian republic. This is why we demand that the government withdraw the bill.
“This is why we demand that the government not betray the constitution. We call on all people of conscience to insist that the constitutional commitment to an equal and secular citizenry be honoured,” the letter states.
If religious persecution was the logic presented in the bill, then why were refugees such as Rohingyas from Myanmar or Hindu or Muslim Tamils from Sri Lanka or Ahmadis from Pakistan left out? they asked.
“Why focus on only three countries as if these constitute the only possible sources of asylum-seekers?” they asked, stressing on the need to have a refugee policy in line with international law, not a legislation dictated by an ideology that makes use of religion for political gains.
“The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, tears to shreds the inclusive, composite vision of India that guided our freedom struggle. In the amendments it introduces to the Citizenship Act of 1955, the new bill violates every single one of these fundamentals of the constitution,” the letter states. (PTI)