09 December 2019
Bhubaneswar: The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 which was introduced in the Lok Sabha today should not be considered on communal and religious grounds but on grounds of national interest, said BJD MP and spokesperson Sasmit Patra.
He stated that Odisha is a peace-loving and secular state and BJD supremo-cum-Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is popular as a secular leader. After studying the Bill the party found it bears no relation to the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
While the Bill mentions about migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, it has left out Sri Lanka. The Bill reduces the mandatory requirement of continuous stay in India from 11 years to five years for migrants to apply for citizenship.
The BJD while supporting the Bill has given three recommendations which includes,
1. Migrants of Sri Lanka should be brought under the purview of the Bill as people of Hindu and Muslim communities are being subjected to persecution for decades in the country. They should not be deprived of the opportunity.
2. The Bill should not be merged with NRC which is a vast subject that needs to be discussed and addressed separately.
3. It is the duty of the Government to address the doubts of the Muslim community for not being included in the Bill. The Government should establish strong faith in the society that the Bill is not against any particular community or religion as declared by some political parties.
Patra informed that the Centre has considered the above recommendations and BJD is optimistic about its implementation. He urged the Bill should not be politicized and asked Muslim brothers and sisters to remove any doubt from their minds.