Govt has no stat on religious persecution: LoP in RS

Govt has no stat on religious persecution: LoP in RS

New Delhi, Dec 11: Questioning the rationale behind choosing only three countries for giving citizenship to minorities facing persecution there, Leader of Opposition (LoP) and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad asked the government why it was selective in countries and religion in the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill.

Speaking in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, Azad wanted to know from the government the basis of selecting three neighbouring countries – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, given that people belonging to various religions were facing persecution in other neighbouring countries too. He noted that Christians in Bhutan and Hindus in Sri Lanka were facing some problems on the basis of their faith but why they had not been included.

The senior Rajya Sabha leader also highlighted the violence in various parts of the northeast while it was being claimed that everybody was jubilant about it. “Why the Army is holding flag march and tear gas being used. Why buses are being burnt,” Azad said.

Trying to corner the government over the controversial bill, Azad cited the reply of Home Ministry and sought to know as to how numbers of those persecuted in the three countries were counted in lakhs and crores while official records were different. In reply to a question on how many people of minority communities were persecuted in Pakistan and Afghanistan after 1947 and in Bangladesh after 1971, the Home Ministry said that it did not have authoritative statistics.

In another question on how many of those persecuted had applied for citizenship, the reply said it was 4,400. For three days, you are counting the number of those persecuted in lakhs and crores,” the LoP said.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, introduced in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, provides for giving Indian citizenship to the members of the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who came to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan after they faced religious persecution in those countries.