Deeply Troubling: 1000 Scholars Demand Citizenship Bill Withdrawal

Scientists and scholars criticise the move of creating legal provisions on granting citizenship on religious lines.

2 min read
Students and activists participate in a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in Guwahati. 

A group of scientists and scholars issued a statement calling for an immediate withdrawal of the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019, tabled in the parliament on Monday, 9 December.

Criticising the Bill, the scholars and scientists wrote that “careful exclusion” of Muslims to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, was “deeply troubling,” calling it out for using religion as a legal criteria for granting citizenship.

“The idea of India that emerged from the independence movement, and as enshrined in our Constitution, is that of a country that aspires to treat people of all faiths equally. The use of religion as a criterion for citizenship in the proposed bill would mark a radical break with this history and would be inconsistent with the basic structure of the Constitution.”
Statement by Scholars, Scientists

The list of signatories include Sandip Trivedi from Tata Institute of Fundamental, Research, Mumbai, Rahul Varman from IIT Kanpur, Priyadarshi Paul from International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, TIFR, Bengaluru, Enakshi Bhattacharya from IIT Madras along with a growing list of thousand plus scientists and scholars.

The statement further quotes Article 14 of the Indian Constitution which prohibits the state from denying to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.

“We note that article 14 of the Indian constitution prohibits the State from denying “to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.” While it is the job of legal experts to determine whether this draft bill violates the letter of the constitution, it seems certain to us that it violates its spirit.”
Statement by Scholars, Scientists

The Bill was introduced successfully in Lok Sabha by Amit Shah on Monday amidst opposition from various parties, with 293 yes votes against 82 no votes.

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