Taking an ‘about-turn’ after extending its support to the Centre’s Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, former BJP ally Shiv Sena on Wednesday reiterated that its Lok Sabha stand could change in Rajya Sabha if its doubts are not cleared.
“We have to clear our doubts on this bill. If we don’t get satisfactory answers, then our stand could be different from what we took in Lok Sabha,” party MP Sanjay Raut said.
Raut stated that it is not right to play vote-bank politics on the matter and asked the Government to not “attempt to create a Hindu-Muslim divide again”.
He also pointed out that the bill does not include the Tamil Hindus of Sri Lanka.
On Tuesday, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and lyricist Vairamuthu had also asked for providing citizenship to Lankan refugees staying in the country for over three decades.
Tamil Nadu has a significant number of Sri Lankan Tamils living in various parts of the state, including in government camps. Many of them had fled Sri Lanka during the ethnic strife in the 1980s.
Raut’s comments come as the Centre is set to move the contentious Bill in the Rajya Sabha at noon.
Lok Sabha passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill a little after midnight on Tuesday.
According to the proposed legislation, non-Muslim refugees ie, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who came to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan by December 31, 2014, and faced religious persecution in those countries, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.
Meanwhile, earlier on Tuesday, Shiv Sena chief and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray attacked his former ally BJP saying, “Anyone who disagrees is a ‘deshdrohi’ is their (BJP) illusion. We have suggested changes in the Bill that we want in Rajya Sabha. It is an illusion that only BJP cares for the country. We must get out of that illusion”
Taking it to Twitter, Thackeray said, “We voted yesterday to absorb various people facing brutalities in other countries but we have asked many questions. Those questions we thought would be answered, ranging from national security to the rights of locals in various states of India.”
“If these queries are not answered, we won’t be supporting the CAB in the Rajya Sabha. Every party supporting or opposing it is asking for clarity in the national interest. Clarity must be ensured,” he added.
Earlier, Shiv Sena had claimed that it had supported the bill in the Lok Sabha “in the interest of the nation”.
However, on Monday, the Shiv Sena had criticised the Bill in an editorial published in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ questioning the Centre on whether “selective acceptance” of Hindu illegal immigrants will act as a trigger for a religious war in the country.