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Amit Shah lists minorities that won't "be forced to leave India", doesn't include Muslims

Amit Shah lists minorities that won't
  • Shah says BJP government will not force a single (non-muslim) refugee to leave the country.
  • Citizenship Amendment Bill has become a subject of disagreement in the upper house of Parliament.
  • A list of citizens residing in the northeastern state of Assam was published that failed to include almost two million residents.

(Karachi) Bharatiya Janata Party National President Amit Shah has blamed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of trying to spread panic over the proposed National Register for Citizens (NRC) and declared that Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain refugees would not be forced out of the country due to the citizens’ list.

He was addressing a seminar on the controversial NRC in Bengal’s Kolkata city on Tuesday. This is his first visit to Bengal after the general elections. “The Bharatiya Janata Party government will not force a single (non-muslim) refugee to leave the country,” Shah said in his speech.

Accusations

While referring to Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s views on the issue, Amit Shah said, “Mamata is telling people of Bengal that thousands of Hindu refugees will be thrown out of Bangladesh if NRC happens. There cannot be a bigger lie and I have come here today to make it clear that this will not happen.”

Shah pointed out, “You must know that it was Mamata who had demanded action against illegal infiltration at Parliament during Left rule on August 4, 2005. As an opposition leader she used to allege that the Communist Party of India (Marxist) was using immigrants as a votebank. What has happened now.”

He said that the BJP-led national coalition had already moved a bill in Rajya Sabha back in 2016 to give citizenship to minority communities from neighbouring countries. “That version of the bill could never be passed because All India Trinamool Congress MPs disrupted proceedings,” the BJP leader remarked.

Bone of contention

The proposal, framed as the Citizenship Amendment Bill, has become a subject of disagreement in the upper house of Parliament. The proposed bill, if passed, will grant citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who have resided in India for at least six years.

Last month, a list of citizens residing in the northeastern state of Assam was published that failed to include almost two million residents. Those whose names were left off the list had 60 days to appeal in legal tribunals to prove their citizenship.

As far as the whole process of compiling the list was concerned, it was entirely based on voluntary applications rather than a door-to-door census. All residents of Assam were invited to apply to be included on the list with documentation that would prove their ancestry to a bona fide resident of the state on or before March 24, 1971, when Bangladesh became an independent country.