The government has failed to persuade opposition parties to give up their opposition to the bill and key players like Trinamool Congress and Congress are unrelenting in their objections to the legislation which they say discriminates between migrants on the basis of religion.
However, government sources pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi set out the argument during his recent visit to the northeast when he said a distinction should be drawn between those who entered India to grab its resources and those fleeing in the face of atrocities. “There are those who had to save their lives and came to the protection of mother India,” he said.
These people, who are minorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, need the protection of India. “These people became minorities in some countries after Partition. It is India’s duty to offer them shelter,” he said.
The passage of the citizenship amendment bill is unlikely given that Rajya Sabha has been non-functional. The government has also indicated to north-eastern states that it will await for a consensus to emerge even as it argued that the bill’s implications are not only for the region. It addressed a core aspect of identity and rights of nationality.