New Delhi, Dec 14 : Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) and some civil society groups on Saturday opposed the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), terming it as unconstitutional.
Earlier this week, the Parliament passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to six non-Muslim communities -- Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists -- from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who have entered India on or before December 31, 2014.
Jamaat's Vice President Salim Engineer said in a media interaction: "Through the CAA, the government wants to give citizenship to six religious minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan except Muslims. We think it is against the spirit of the Constitution. It will take the country towards communal politics." The representatives of the Muslim body and several civil society groups said in a statement that they all oppose the Citizenship Amendment Act.
"We are not opposing granting citizenship to the six communities through this law. We are against exclusion of Muslims based on religion. It is against the idea of India. CAB should be seen along with NRC (National Register of Citizens). Only then the gravity of the picture will emerge," said the statement.
The civil society groups sought clarification on the statement given by Home Minister Amit Shah that crores of people who do not have documents need not worry, they will get protection from CAA.
"Does it mean that only Muslims should worry? It is dangerous that just for winning elections, they are indulging in divisive politics," said members of the civil society groups.
Mohammad Jafar, one of the Vice Presidents of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, said: "We are concerned that both Houses of the Parliament have passed this Bill and got support not only from the ruling BJP, but also from those parties who we thought will not support the Bill. It seems they did not realise that CAB is divisive and destabilising for the country." According to the Muslim body, the Constitution does not allow discrimination based on religion and that the Act violates Articles 14 and 15.
Navaid Hamid, President, All India Muslim Majlise e Mushawarat, questioned the intention of the government behind the CAB.
"Last time the Bill was sent to the select committee of Parliament for discussion. That panel had recommended citizenship to persecuted minorities but the government added religious minorities. CAA is against the idea of 'Vasudeva Kutumbkam'," said Hamid.