CPI(M) to Mobilise Opposition to Fight Citizenship Bill: Yechury

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CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury talking to media people after press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday. — Photo by Caravan Daily

CPI(M) vows to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) tooth and nail inside and outside Parliament termng it larger part of the RSS to turn a secular democratic republic into a “Hindu Rashtra”

Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI — While terming the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) as the larger part of an RSS agenda to turn the country into a Hindu Rashtra, the CPI(M) on Wednesday said it would oppose the bill tooth and nail inside and outside Parliament. It also announced plans for mobilising Opposition parties and hitting the streets in protest against the bill which won nod from the Union Cabinet.

Addressing a press conference at the AK Gopalan Bhawan here,  CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury  said  the bill was “unacceptable and unconstitutional.” Citizenship cannot be determined by or is linked to religion. This, he said, was a part of the larger agenda of the RSS, the ideological mentor of the Modi government, to turn a secular democratic republic into a “Hindu Rashtra”. The draft bill was first brought in 2016 and the Left parties along with other Opposition parties forced the government to refer it to a joint select committee of both houses of Parliament, he said.

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday reportedly cleared the bill that seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan if they faced “religious persecution” there.

Coming down heavily on the Modi government, Yechury stressed that citizenship cannot be determined by or linked to religion. “It is simple. Citizenship cannot be determined by or is linked to religion. This is what makes the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) unacceptable and unconstitutional. The CAB is aimed at destroying the very basis of India.”

The CPI(M) leader said, “India’s citizens are its citizens, irrespective of what faith they follow or don’t, what they eat, what work they do, their caste, creed, place of residence, gender or colour of skin. A firm ‘No’ to Citizenship Amendment Bill.” When asked if the CPI(M) will mobilize the Opposition on this issue, the party general secretary said, “Certainly we will bring together all Opposition parties as we did in 2016 when the bill was first introduced.”

In reply to another question, he told Caravan Daily: “If the government failed to take back the bill, we will hit the streets in protest.”

Demanding that the bill be withdrawn, he said the preamble, the citizenship provisions (Article 5 to 11) and the section on fundamental rights underlined the fundamentals of equality regardless of gender, caste, religion, class, community or language.

The bill is violative of the fundamentals of the Indian Constitution, he said and added that the amendment bill was not a mere change in the statute but it will take the form of a law that will fundamentally alter the character of the Indian Republic. He also urged the new government in Maharashtra to drop all charges against activists and academicians in connection with the recent Bhima-Koregaon violence.

Yechury said the CPI(M) wants to reopen the Judge Loya case. The judge was found dead in Nagpur in mysterious circumstances some time ago. The judge was hearing a murder case against Amit Shah who is now the Union home minister. His sudden death in a hotel room had raised suspicion of foul play and the then Maharashtra government led by the BJP had been accused of suppressing facts in the case.

At the press meet, Yechury and CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat released a book on ‘100 Years of the Communist Party’ (Its history from 1920 to 1947). He said the Communist party was formed when the communal forces were on the rise in the country. And in today’s context too, “Communist ideology is very much relevant to check communalism.” He said the Communists were the first to demand independence for the nation from the British.

Party leader Maulana Hasrat Mohani moved the resolution for complete independence in the Lahore Congress of the Communist party in undivided India. “This is a proud chapter in Communist history; that Communists were far ahead of the Congress in their thinking on the question of full independence.”

Asked why the Communist movement in the country has been weakened over the years, Yechury said there were a host of reasons for the decline. He did not elaborate.

 

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