Akalis hail citizenship Bill, say don’t exclude Muslims

CHANDIGARH: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today appreciated the NDA government’s decision to bring the Citizenship Amendment Bill for clearance in Parliament tomorrow, but it simultaneously urged that it should cover all persecuted people irrespective of religion.

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Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today appreciated the NDA government’s decision to bring the Citizenship Amendment Bill for clearance in Parliament tomorrow, but it simultaneously urged that it should cover all persecuted people irrespective of religion. It said keeping in view the country’s socialistic, secular and democratic credentials as well as humanitarian principles, Muslims should not be excluded from the Bill on the basis of religion.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the party’s core committee which was presided over SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal at Badal village in Muktsar. Appreciating the Bill, the meeting said the NDA government had fulfilled the demand of SAD as well as all minorities, including Sikhs, Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians who had fled religious persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh and taken refuge in India.

The SAD president noted that the party had been raising the issue of more than 75,000 Sikhs who had fled Afghanistan more than 30 years ago and were living in Delhi. He said besides this, Sikhs, Hindus and even people from other communities had fled Pakistan and Bangladesh and sought refuge in India, but were denied any rights.

“The Citizenship Amendment Bill not only franchises them but also protects their life and liberty as per the Constitution of the country,” he said.

Lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for the historic legislation, the core committee said efforts should be made to encompass all persecuted people under the Bill. The committee said this would not only be in consonance with the secular spirit of the Constitution, but also the principles of the Guru sahiban who preached that we should not discriminate against anyone based on caste or creed. “Accordingly a clause should be inserted in the Bill stating that all persecuted people who had sought refuge in the country would be given citizenship irrespective of their religion,” it said.

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