NEW DELHI: In a rare but not the first such occasion, opposition parties on Friday jointly expressed their objection by sloganeering “shame, shame”, that reverberated in the Central Hall of Parliament when President Ram Nath Kovind mentioned that Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was the will of Mahatma Gandhi which the government had fulfilled.
Kovind made the statement while addressing a joint sitting of the Parliament before the beginning of the Budget session which is divided into two parts. The first part began on Friday and go on till February 11, after which the session will be adjourned for a short break. The second half of the session will be from March 2 to April 3.
The opposition’s objection came minutes after the President started speaking about the benefits of the CAA mentioning the government had fulfilled the will of Mahatma Gandhi with the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 in both the houses of Parliament. The CAA which came into force earlier this month after it was passed in the winter session of Parliament last year.
As the opposition’s sloganeering continued, the President continued his speech describing how the Act would benefit the immigrants of minorities of six religious communities persecuted from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
“I am happy that the will of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, has been fulfilled by enacting a Citizenship Amendment Act by both the Houses of Parliament.”
Kovind also condemned the atrocities on the minority communities in Pakistan and “urged the world community to take cognizance of this and take necessary steps in this direction”.
The President stressed that the government makes it clear that the procedures which were there earlier for people of all religions of the world, who believed in India and want to take citizenship of India, are the same today.
“A person of any creed can complete these processes and become a citizen of India. The government has made several provisions for granting citizenship to refugees in any region and especially in the North East,” he said.
The Lok Sabha passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill on December 9, 2019 while the Rajya Sabha passed the Bill on December 12, 2019. The Act came into force on January 10 this year.
As per the law, excluding Muslims, migrants of six non-Muslim communities — Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian — who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 will be given citizenship.
The law has faced countrywide protests in various cities since Parliament passed it, leading to injuries to hundreds of security personnel, the strongest dissent against PM Modi since he first came to power in 2014. Over 2,000 people have been arrested and around 5,000 detained while protesting against the CAA.