Amit Shah set to move CAB in LS today

The CAB will amend the six-decade-old Citizenship Act.

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government is all set to introduce two major bills in the Lok Sabha Monday, including the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, that seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan fleeing religious persecution there, which will be tabled by home minister Amit Shah.

The CAB will amend the six-decade-old Citizenship Act.

Members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, facing religious persecution there, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but provided Indian citizenship, according to the proposed law.The CAB is being viewed as a political move by the ruling BJP and apparently has the strong backing of its core voters.

The bill was also an election promise by the BJP in both the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The BJP-led NDA government had introduced the bill in its previous tenure and got the Lok Sabha’s approval, but it didn’t introduce it in the Rajya Sabha due to the vehement protests in the Northeast.

The revised bill has, however, triggered considerable opposition in the northeastern states, with several organisations saying it will nullify the provisions of the 1985 Assam Accord, which fixed March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date for the deportation of all illegal immigrants irrespective of religion.

To assuage the feelings of tribals in the Northeast, the government has allowed a provisions under which the proposed law will not be applicable in the Inner Line Permit (ILP) areas and those tribal regions that are governed under the Constitution’s Sixth Schedule.

Though the legislation is expected to sail through the Lok Sabha, where the BJP has a clear majority, in anticipation of possible trouble in the Rajya Sabha - where it is expected to be tabled later this week — the party strategists are trying to shore up numbers. The move came after the recent desertion of the Shiv Sena from the NDA ranks and likely opposition by its ally, the JD(U). It is learnt the ruling party is talking to parties like the BJD, TRS and YSR Congress to get this important bill through Parliament.

This newspaper was the first to report on December 5 that as part of the strategy to get the CAB cleared, the BJP had deployed top leaders and ministers to reach out to Opposition parties and NDA allies for passage of the bill.

Meanwhile, the bill to renew the reservation provided to the marginalised communities like the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Parliament and state legislatures is due to be moved by law and justice minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

The proposed amendment does away with reservation for the Anglo Indian community in the Lok Sabha and state legislatures.

“Although SC and STs have made considerable progress in the last 70 years, the reasons which weighed with the Constituent Assembly in making provision with regard to the aforesaid reservation of seats have not yet ceased to exist.

Therefore, with a view to retaining the inclusive character as envisioned by the founding fathers of the Constitution, it is proposed to continue the reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for another 10 years, that is upto 25 January 2030,” the proposed bill states.

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