Ahead of the introduction of the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) in Lok Sabha on Monday, the Shiv Sena has accused the Government of attempting an “invisible partition” of Hindus and Muslims.

The former BJP ally, in an editorial in its mouthpiece, ‘Saamana’, further questioned the Centre on whether “selective acceptance” of Hindu illegal immigrants will act as a trigger for a religious war in the country.

“It is true that there is no other country for Hindus except Hindustan. But by accepting only Hindus among the illegal immigrants, will it be a trigger of a religious war in the country?” the Sena wondered.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) is set to be tabled in the Lok Sabha by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 that seeks to provide Indian nationality to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists fleeing persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, has already faced cold vibes from the opposition with the Congress calling it “unconstitutional”.

Minority outfits too have lashed out against the Bill for leaving out Muslims and also on the ground that it is at odds with the Constitution, which does not differentiate between citizens on the basis of their faith.

If the bill is passed in the Parliament, it will amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 that requires applicants to have resided in India for 11 of the previous 14 years. The amendment seeks to relax this requirement from 11 years to 6 years.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led party said “vote bank politics” under the garb of the CAB is not in the interest of the country.

The party also questioned the timing of the bill.

“There is no dearth of problems in India now but still we are inviting new ones such as CAB. It looks like the Centre has made an invisible partition of Hindus and Muslims over the bill,” it said.

Senior party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut has said that while “illegal intruders must be thrown out and immigrant Hindus must be given citizenship”, they should not be given voting rights to “give rest” to allegations of “creating vote bank”.

The CAB has drawn opposition from various quarters, especially from Northeast leaders.

In Assam, the proposed amendment has raised concern as the local leaders believe it will nullify the 1985 Assam Accord, which set March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for identification and deportation of illegal immigrants irrespective of religion.

Mizoram leaders are opposing the CAB on the ground that it would make Buddhist Chakma refugees Indian citizens. Even people from Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh have opposed the proposed legislation.

Meanwhile, the BJP has issued a 3-line whip to all its members of parliament (MPs) to attend the session from December 9-11 to “support Government stand” on a slew of bills that the treasury bench is slated to move.

Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi, while speaking to reporters on Monday, said that the bill is in the interest of the northeast states and the country and added that it will get a nod from both the Houses of the Parliament.