The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), 2019—which was passed in the Lok Sabha on December 9—has created uproar all across the country. In Tamil Nadu too, the opposition to this Bill has been mounting, while the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) has extended support to the CAB inviting severe criticism from different quarters.
The opposition parties in the state led by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) have accused the union government of pursuing divisive politics in the name of religion. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)], Communist Party of India (CPI), Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), Congress and many other parties have voiced their opinion against the bill. Youth and students’ organisations, too, have launched protests against the Bill.
CAB Goes Against Constitution: CPI(M)
The controversial Bill was in the offing since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won a massive mandate in the 2019 general elections. As soon as the Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha, the opposition tore in to the ruling party accusing it of violating the Indian Constitution. K Balakrishnan, Tamil Nadu state secretary of CPI(M), told NewsClick, “The Modi- Shah regime is working against the constitution of India. The article 14 ensures equality before law and article 15 says that there should be no discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, caste, sex and place of birth. The BJP government is breaking the very backbone of the nation by dividing the citizens in the name of religion.”
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He further added, “The BJP government is not even ready to consider the amendments proposed by the Opposition. The Bill specifically mentions only three nations and leaves out countries like Sri Lanka and Myanmar. This time the BJP has targeted one particular religion and we are very concerned about its future plans which may lead to marginalisation of other minority religious groups.”
CPI(M) MP from Madurai S Venkatesan said in the Lok Sabha, “The people of the nation has given the BJP a mandate to rule and not to divide. This day could the saddest day in the history of our nation.”
DMK VOTES AGAINST THE BILL
The principal opposition party in the state, DMK, has voted against the Bill in the LS, even though certain reports had claimed that the party walked out during the vote. DMK MP K Kanimozhi in a tweet rejected the false claims and confirmed the party’s vote against CAB. She also tweeted that the Bill betrays the Muslim community and DMK will not let them down.
Dayanidhi Maran, DMK MP in the LS questioned the evil intentions of the BJP and its venomous attitude against the minorities of the country. He also asked why the Sri Lankan Tamils, who have been living in camps for more than three decades, are not considered for citizenship.
AIADMK SUPPORTS CAB
Meanwhile, the ruling AIADMK as expected, extended their support to the Bill. Even though the party has requested the inclusion of Sri Lankan refugees for the right to citizenship, but before getting any assurance from the home minister, the party extended its support to CAB. The Minister of Fisheries in the state, D Jaya Kumar, while addressing the media, justified their support to the Bill and that CAB won’t affect any minorities as assured by the home minister.
On the other hand, youth and students’ organisations like the Democratic Youth Federation of India and Students’ Federation of India held protests across the state against the Bill and burnt CAB drafts in different educational institutes including the Pondicherry University.
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