Union Home Minister Amit Shah will table the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha on Monday. The Opposition has slammed the Bill as divisive and communal in nature. Now, a latest report suggests that even RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) had raised concerns over the Bill. The officials at India’s external spy agency reportedly told the lawmakers back in January that Pakistan may exploit the legal framework of the Bill to ‘push its own people’. A Deccan Chronicle report said that the R&AW's concerns were placed before a Joint Parliamentary Committee, which scrutinised the now lapsed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 earlier when one of its Joint Secretary deposed before the panel headed by BJP MP Rajendra Agarwal.
“Our only concern has been that the agencies who are inimical to us should not have a legal framework within which they can exploit our situation and infiltrate their own people into our own country. That is a matter of great concern for us," the R&AW official was quoted as saying in the panel report placed in Parliament.
In their deposition before the panel, the Intelligence Bureau officials had said that the immediate beneficiaries of the Bill would be 31,313 people Hindus and other minority community members from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
Now, it is believed that the Modi Government tweaked to the Bill, which will also help the Centre to tackle the pressure from the North-East. The new Bill, which will be tabled in the Lok Sabha, will take specifically address the concerns raised by Manipur. This means that the new Bill will exclude areas, which are under the Inner Line Permit regime and those currently placed under the Sixth Schedule.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill, which proposes to ease the citizenship process for non-Muslim illegal immigrants, will not be applicable on entire North-East.
Key opposition parties like the Congress and Trinamool Congress have severely criticised the bill. Congress’s Shashi Tharoor said it violates the basic idea of India that religion can never be a reason for citizenship.
“Those who believe that religion should determine nationhood...that was the idea of Pakistan, they created Pakistan. We have always argued that our idea of nation was what Mahatma Gandhi, Nehruji, Maluana Azad, Dr Ambedkar have said, that religion cannot determine nationhood,” Tharoor told reporters in Parliament premises.
“Ours is a country for everybody and everybody, irrespective of religion, has equal rights in this country, and the Constitution that they wrote reflected that. Today, this bill undermines this fundamental tenet of the Constitution,” he added.
The draft legislation is expected to sail through Lok Sabha, where the BJP has a big majority, and is unlikely to face serious hurdles in Rajya Sabha as well as the ruling party has often managed the support of parties like the BJD, TRS and YSR Congress for its flagship agenda.