In a massive twist, the Shiv Sena on Monday supported the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) introduced by Home Minister Amit Shah earlier in the day in Lok Sabha. While addressing the lower house of the Parliament, Vinayak Raut said that Shiv Sena founder Balasahab Thackeray always wanted illegal migrants to be out from the country.
However, he also raised some questions on the bill. “How many refugees from these six communities which are mentioned in the Bill are living in India? Home Minister has not answered this, how much will our population increase when they get citizenship? Also, what about Tamils from Sri Lanka,” he asked.
The Shiv Sena also said in Lok Sabha that people who get Indian citizenship under the proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill should not be granted voting rights for 25 years.
Vinayak Raut said framing laws is not enough and there is a need to implement them properly. He further added that while citizenship should be granted, such people should not get voting rights for 25 years.
Raut was of the view that besides Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, refugees from Sri Lanka should also be allowed to get Indian citizenship.
Earlier, ahead of tabling of the Citizen (Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha, the Shiv Sena has opposed granting of any voting rights to illegal “intruders” even as it advocated citizenship for immigrant Hindus.
The bill (CAB) seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan escaping religious persecution there.
“Illegal Intruders should be thrown out. Immigrant Hindus must be given citizenship, but let’s give rest to allegations of creating vote bank & not give them voting rights, what say? And yes what about pandits, have they gone back to kashmir after article 370 was removed?” Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut tweeted in morning and tagged Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who will introduce the CAB in the Lower House.
Raut’s comment assumes significance as he is the chief whip of the Sena in Parliament. What stand does the Sena, which has 18 MPs in Lok Sabha, take on the bill is being closely watched as the saffron party heads a coalition government in Maharashtra with the NCP and Congress.
The Sena had last month parted ways with its ally BJP to form a coalition government in Maharashtra, which is headed by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. In an editorial in the party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ earlier in the day, the Sena questionned whether “selective acceptance” of Hindu illegal immigrants will act as a trigger for a religious war in the country and accused the Centre of apparently doing an “invisible partition” of Hindus and Muslims over the bill.