CPM to seek two changes to citizen bill
The CPM on Sunday said it would move two amendments to demand the Citizenship Bill be made religion-neutral and kept open to people from neighbouring countries, instead of three specific countries.
The bill now mentions almost all religions except Islam. The bill covers only persecuted refugees from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, not Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
“Citizenship cannot be linked to religion of an individual. It has to be religion neutral. We will move amendments for deletion of names of religions and to replace the names of the countries by ‘neighbouring’ countries,” CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury told reporters.
Yechury said 1.05 lakh Sri Lankan Tamils were living as refugees in India currently who should also get benefit.
The party leader from Kashmir, Yousuf Tarigami, said people from Kashmir have accepted India as their nation because of secularism. But the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill damages the secular character of the nation.
Tarigami said because of the blackout of Internet services after abrogation of Article 370, normal life continued to be hit in the Valley. The business and education sectors have been severely affected. Students seeking to take national-level entrance tests like National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (Neet) are finding it difficult to apply .
“The government has set up one centre with two to three computers with Internet for students to fill up forms online. The facility is too inadequate. Students from different areas are unable to come,” Tarigami said.
“We need the right to stay together and live together with everybody. That is not a big demand,” he added.