In a dramatic move, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi tore a copy of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha during a debate on it on Monday. The AIMIM MP launched a blistering attack on the Union government over the Bill, saying it was aimed at making Muslims "stateless" and will lead to another partition. Opposing the Citizenship Amendment Bill, Assaduddin Owaisi said the Bill is an “insult to India's freedom fighters”.
"This law is worse than Hitler's law. The Muslims are getting dominated," said Owaisi.
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 is an insult to India's freedom-fighters, he said, accusing the BJP-led government of working to marginalise Muslims in the country. "The bill is against the Constitution.... It is a conspiracy to make Muslims stateless," Owaisi said, 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.
Earlier in the day, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on said in Lok Sabha that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 is not against minorities but against infiltrators. Introducing the bill, Shah said the Congress "divided" the country on the basis of religion that is why it was necessary to bring the bill.
Shah said the proposed legislation is being brought on the basis of reasonable classifications provided under the Constitution and it does not violate any of its provisions. The bill, he said, seeks to give Indian nationality to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who are facing religious persecution there. The home minister said laws were framed to give citizenship to people on several occasions in the past, including in 1971 after the creation of Bangladesh and attacks on Indians in Uganda, by using the provision of reasonable classifications.
"This bill is not even .001 per cent against minorities. It is against infiltrators," he said.
Earlier, opposition leaders Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Saugata Roy, N K Premchandran, Gaurav Gogoi, Shashi Tharoor, Assaduddin Owaisi opposed the introduction of the bill, saying it was violative of various provisions of the Constitution, including move to grant citizenship on the basis on religion.
The bill was introduced after a division of votes for which 293 MPs voted in favour and 82 voted against.