What’s the need of citizenship law now asks Arvind Kejriwal

AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal expressed concerns over the tense situation that prevailed in Delhi throughout Sunday when Jamia University students clashed with Delhi Police personnel and they barged into the university later.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has questioned the need to pass a law such as the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that has brought many states to a standstill and saw Delhi erupt in violent protests on Sunday.

Speaking at Agenda AajTak 2019, Arvind Kejriwal said, “I want to ask what was the need of such a bill at this time. There is such widespread unemployment and inflation in the country, people are crying over jobs and goods getting costlier. The nation needs to look at these bigger problems instead of such an issue.”

“The country and its leaders, political parties need to come together to discuss the economic slowdown instead of fighting over this issue. There was no need to discuss the Citizenship Act,” said Arvind Kejriwal.


The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief then expressed concerns over the tense situation that prevailed in Delhi throughout Sunday when Jamia University students clashed with Delhi Police personnel and they barged into the university later.

“I am very worried about the situation in Delhi. I spoke to the L-G and also sought time from Amit Shah to discuss the measures all of us need to take to bring peace back in Delhi,” said Kejriwal.

“We as a nation must take not of why are our students are out on the streets. Students from 22 universities are protesting. Our future generation is out there fighting. We need to listen to them. They are the future,” he added.

Speaking about the incidents of buses being vandalised and burnt by protesters, Arvind Kejriwal said, “I condemn the violence. We should look at CCTV footage to know who burnt the buses and then take action against the guilty.”


Ahead of the assembly elections in Delhi where the AAP government will face its first test after 5 years, Kejriwal sounded very confident about coming back to power with greater mandate.

Asked if AAP is bothered by BJP’s accusations that the ruling party had done no work in 4 years and is piling up everything in the last year, Kejriwal said, “People in Delhi are happy and it doesn’t matter what the BJP says.”

“There is not a single resident in Delhi who the AAP government has not touched in some way. Be it with electricity, government schools or water supply, we have managed to touch even the opposition,” he said.

“Even BJP, Congress supporters come to our nukkar meetings to tell us about the work we have done. We have earned their blessings too,” said Kejriwal.

Asked why he has stopped talking about PM Modi over the last one year, Kejriwal quipped, “Mujhe kya karna hai, woh bohot bade log hai, main chhota aadmi hoon (They are stalwarts, have bigger issues at hand. I am a small man). I was given a mandate to work for Delhi. I would stick to doing that.”

He went on to add that the AAP government has in five years earned the respect of its critics and opposition and that is the biggest achievement of his government.


Nationalist Congress Party supports Rahul on citizenship row

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Tuesday came out in support of Congress President Rahul Gandhi who has been served notice by the Union Home Ministry on his citizenship status.

NCP General Secretary D.P. Tripathi told reporters Rahul Gandhi has been a member of parliament for several years and the timing of the notice showed that it was served to make it an election issue.

“Subramanium Swamy has been raising these issues for several years but has never produced a concrete proof to support his allegations. The home ministry should not have served notice to him without any proof,” he said.

The NCP leader though criticised Gandhi for choosing to contest from Wayanad. “He could have gone to Bellary or some other constituency instead of contesting against the Left,” he stated.

Tripathi also criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for calling the opposition anti-national.

“The Prime Minister belongs to the entire country. He is well within his rights to criticise the opposition during election but the dignity of speech should be maintained. This is in accordance with the federal structure of our country.”

Replying to a question about the prime ministerial candidate of the opposition if it came to power, the NCP leader said: “That is not an issue. We decided the prime ministerial candidate after polls in 1977 and 1989.

“The issue at present is to vote the BJP out of power. I also condemn the Prime Minister’s statement that 40 Trinamool Congress MLAs were in touch with him.”

The NCP is supporting the SP-BSP alliance in Uttar Pradesh but Tripathi would be campaigning for the Congress in Amethi and Rae Bareli.

The party will also support the Congress on Dhaurhara, Kushinagar and Lucknow seats.



Priyanka dismisses allegations over Rahul’s citizenship

Soon after the Ministry of Home Affairs issued a notice to Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s to clarify his citizenship, his sister and the party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday dismissed the allegations as rubbish and said her brother was an Indian who was born and brought up in India.

“I have not heard such a rubbish earlier,” Priyanka Gandhi told the media here.

“The entire country knows that Rahul Gandhi is an Indian. He was born in front of all here, he grew up here and in front of all he grew, everyone knows this,” she said.

Her remarks came after the Ministry issued the notice to Rahul Gandhi to clarify his nationality within a fortnight after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Subramanian Swamy alleged that he is a British national.

Priyanka Gandhi is on a day-long visit to the parliamentary constituency of her brother Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, where he is locked in a tough fight against BJP leader Smriti Irani, who is re-contesting from the seat.

On Wednesday, she will visit Rae Bareli, the constituency of her mother and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi

Amethi and Rae Bareli will head to polls in the fifth phase on May 6 of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.



MHA issues notice to Rahul over his British citizenship

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued a notice to Congress President Rahul Gandhi to clarify his nationality within a fortnight after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Subramanian Swamy alleged that he is a British national.

The MHA in a letter dated April 29, said that Gandhi has declared his nationality as British in an annual return filed by a British company named Backops Ltd.

The Ministry sought the Congress President’s response over the issue within 14 days.

“You are requested to intimate the factual position in the matter to this Ministry within a fortnight of the receipt of this communication,” the letter read.

The BJP had raised the issue earlier in April, citing the British company’s document to allege that Gandhi is a British national. BJP MP Swamy cited the same British company document.

Swamy in his representation before the Home Ministry alleged that Gandhi served as one of the Directors and Secretary of the British firm Backops Ltd, which is registered in the UK since 2003, with address 51 Southgate Street, Winchester, Hampshire.

“It has been further brought out in the complaint that in the company’s annual returns filed on October 10, 2005 and October 31, 2006, your (Rahul Gandhi) date of birth has been given as June 19, 1970 and that you had declared your nationality as British,” the letter wrote.

The letter also stated that in the dissolution application dated February 17, 2009 of the British firm, Gandhi’s nationality has been mentioned as British.



Congress will scrap Citizenship Bill forever; Rahul Gandhi

Launching his party’s Lok Sabha campaign for the northeast, here on Tuesday, Congress President Rahul Gandhi said the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill would be scrapped if his party came to power.

“The BJP has said it will bring the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 if it comes to power. But we are against it. We are not going to allow this Bill. It is against the interests of the people of northeast. We will scrap it forever,” said Gandhi at a public rally in the Arunachal Pradesh capital.

The Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, failed to get it cleared by the Rajya Sabha due to opposition by some of its own allies.

BJP President Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have defended the Bill and have said their party would revive it on return to power.

The Congress chief also promised to restore the special category status of northeastern states. “Some states require special status due to unique issues of connectivity, terrain and infrastructure. We will restore the special category status of Arunachal Pradesh and other northeastern states,” said Gandhi.

Launching a scathing attack on the BJP, he said the RSS and the BJP wanted to push one political, cultural ideology and one thought process across the country, thereby destroying the unique cultural heritage and history of northeast.

“Just look at universities of the country. Merit is no longer the criteria to select the vice-chancellors. The determining criteria is their proximity to the RSS. The Planning Commission was replaced by the Niti Aayog, no one knows what this Aayog does,” Gandhi said.

Slamming the five years of the National Democratic Alliance government, he said, “Prime Minister Modi wants a Congress-free India. Just see how much hatred he has in his heart. We do not want to spread hatred. We don’t want to destroy the BJP and the RSS. But we will not allow them to impose their ideology on people.”

Accusing the BJP of politicising the martyrs’ sacrifice, Gandhi said, “Modiji talks about patriotism, but he was busy in shooting (film) for over 3 hours after the Pulwama attack took place.”

“Before that, a few years ago, when the Chinese President came to India and Modiji was sitting with him in Gujarat, the Chinese army entered Doklam. But Modiji did not utter a word. On the contrary, he went to China after that without any agenda. This is Modi’s patriotism,” Gandhi said.

Criticising death of three people in February during protests against grant of permanent residence certificate (PRC) to the non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribal (APST) communities of Namsai and Changlang districts, he said why the government didn’t talk to the agitators.

Large-scale violence against PRCs had resulted in death of three youths and a huge loss of public and private properties.



Government undecided on bringing ordinance to amend Citizenship Bill

The Narendra Modi government is yet to take a decision on bringing an ordinance to amend the Citizenship bill after the amendment bill failed to secure parliamentary approval, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Wednesday.

The government, however, is likely to repromulgate the triple talaq ordinance as it could not get the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill too passed in the upper House, though Tomar refused to comment on that too.

“I cannot say anything as of now on this matter. We will think over it,” Tomar said in response to IANS query whether ordinances will be brought in place of the said bills.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill is being widely opposed, especially in the northeast where even the BJP’s allies in the NDA have taken a strong exception to the legislation that was passed by the Lok Sabha last month.

Tomar blamed the opposition for non-passage of the triple talaq bill, saying the opposition’s attitude changed as the election came nearer.



Arunachal CM against tabling Citizenship Bill in Rajya Sabha

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Monday changed his stance on the Citizenship Bill, asking Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh not to table the bill in the Rajya Sabha.

He made the appeal as he and his Manipur counterpart N. Biren Singh met Rajnath Singh in New Delhi to apprise him about the prevailing situation in their respective states in particular and in the northeast following the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in the Lok Sabha on January 8.

“We have requested the Home Minister not to table the Bill in the Rajya Sabha as there is lot of hue and cry in the northeastern states,” Khandu said.

Khandu, who is heading a BJP government in the border state, had been so far defending the bill which is facing strong opposition from civil society groups and the opposition Congress in his state and across the northeast.



Shutdown in Nagaland over Citizenship Bill on Monday

Normal life came to standstill in Nagaland on Monday as a dawn-to-dusk shutdown called in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, evoked total response.

Shops, business establishments and educational institutions remained closed and vehicular traffic in all 11 districts was suspended. 

The busy roads in state capital Kohima and the commercial town of Dimapur wore a deserted look despite the Nagaland government’s appeal to reconsider the shutdown.

“There is no report of any untoward incident from any part of the state. The shutdown has brought life to a standstill,” a police official said.

The coordination committee of tribal hohos (associations), civil society organisations, various committees and mass-based organisations under the aegis of the Nagaland Gaon Burhas Federation (NGBF) said that the strike has been called to protest the planned passage of the Bill in the Rajya Sabha.

The opposition Naga People’s Front has backed the shutdown.

Nagaland Chief Secretary and Finance Commissioner Temjen Toy said the state government will propose the adoption of a resolution to oppose the Bill in the forthcoming Budget session scheduled to be held on February 21, as decided during the January 31 consultative meeting held in Dimapur.

The Nagaland cabinet has rejected the Bill which was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8.

Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has said that the state government, which represents the will and desire of the people, remains opposed to the Bill that seeks to remove hurdles for eligible migrants from six minority groups from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan in getting Indian citizenship.

He also promised that his government would leave no stone unturned to constantly protect the rights and privileges of the people.



Meghalaya CM flies to Delhi to seek support against Citizenship Bill

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Sunday flew to New Delhi to seek support of various political parties in opposing the Citizenship Bill, which is likely to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

“I am leaving for New Delhi to meet leaders of those political parties who have promised us of their support… to oppose the Bill if it is tabled in the Rajya Sabha,” Sangma told IANS.

He said the national general body meeting of his National People’s Party (NPP) on Saturday had resolved to snap ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance, if the bill is tabled in the Rajya Sabha.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which was passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8, seeks to remove hurdles for eligible migrants from six minority groups from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan in getting Indian citizenship.

“I have impressed upon the Central government about the northeast’s people opposing the Bill. The party cannot go against the wishes of the people. Moreover, the citizenship bill, once it becomes a law, will change the demography of the region and ethnic communities in the region will be reduced to a minorities,” Sangma said.

He and his Mizoram counterpart Zoramthanga had earlier met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to express their opposition to the Bill.

Sangma’s NPP, along with other northeast-based regional parties including the Asom Gana Parishad – which had already severed ties with the BJP in Assam – had sought support of several political parties to prevent passage of the bill in the Rajya Sabha.

Sangma had earlier hinted at snapping ties with the BJP if the latter goes ahead with the bill. The NPP is supporting the BJP-led government in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh and the People’s Democratic Alliance government in Nagaland and has the BJP’s support in Meghalaya.

Meghalaya CM flies to Delhi to seek support against Citizenship Bill



Citizenship Bill will cause no harm to Assam and Northeast, assures Modi

Reaffirming the BJP-led NDA government’s intention to pass the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said the government will ensure that the Bill does not cause any harm to Assam and other parts of the Northeast.

The Prime Minister was addressing a public rally at Changsari near Guwahati while inaugurating several development projects amid protests by various organisations across the region which showed him black flags on Friday.

“The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 is not for Assam or northeastern states. It is for the whole country. The Bill is a national commitment considering the plight of the persecuted minorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The passage of the Bill will ensure that those who were left out during the Partition and who still love India more than their lives are accommodated in the country. It is the responsibility of India to accept those people,” he said.

“I am here to assure you that the Bill will not harm Assam or any other state in the region. The Bill will only allow those persecuted minorities to apply for citizenship. There is no question of granting citizenship without verification,” Modi said.

The Prime Minister said the government is committed to ensuring that there are no illegal foreigners in Assam and the country.

“Our government has started work for updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) under the supervision of the Supreme Court, which the previous government was not doing. Our government is also working at a faster pace to seal the India-Bangladesh border,” Modi said.

The Prime Minister attacked the Congress by holding the opposition party responsible for the delay in conferring Bharat Ratna to the late Bhupen Hazarika and Gopinath Bordoloi.

“Although music maestro Bhupen Hazarika and Gopinath Bordoloi were worthy of Bharat Ratna, the conferring of the honour to them was delayed for decades by the previous governments. It is the BJP government during whose tenure Bharat Ratna was conferred to both the worthy sons of Assam,” he said.

“I want to ask them why the real jewels had to wait for decades to be recognised as Bharat Ratna, while for some the honour was fixed immediately after their birth,” said the Prime Minister, adding that the previous governments in Assam also failed to implement the Assam Accord for over 30 years.

“Our government has already instituted a committee to implement the Clause 6 of the Assam Accord and I firmly believe that the committee will be able to fulfill all the aspirations of the people of the state,” he said.





Manipur women vendors on strike protesting against Citizenship Bill

Thousands of women vendors who exclusively run the three main markets here staged a 12-hour sit-in protest on Saturday demanding a written assurance from the state government that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, will not affect Manipur and other northeastern states.

T. Rani, one of the women vendor activists, said: “The government should issue a written assurance to the effect that when enacted the Bill shall not affect the people of the northeasten states.”

However, spokesperson of the BJP-led state government P. Saratchandra said: “The Citizenship Act was passed by the Centre in 1955 to save the people in some countries from religious persecutions.”

A similar strike was imposed in Assam on Saturday after Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Guwahati on Friday to start his two-day visit to Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura.

There have been nocturnal torch light procession by the womenfolk in many parts of Manipur. On Thursday, a mass protest was held here.

Several protests against the Bill are being held in the northeastern states ever since it was passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8. It is still awaiting the nod of the Rajya Sabha.

Manipur women vendors on strike protesting against Citizenship Bill



Ahead of PM’s visit, tribals hold protests in Tripura against Citizenship Bill

Ahead Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day visit to three northeastern states – Assam, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh – several tribal parties and NGOs on Friday held a massive demonstration in Tripura demanding the withdrawal of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

The protesting groups also demanded the withdrawal of sedition charges levelled by the state police against three tribal leaders.

The several hours long demonstration took place in northern Tripura’s Manughat, 100 km north of Agartala, 10 days after a huge protest rally on the same issue in Khumulwng, 20 km north of Agartala, the headquarters of Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC).

The agitation was spearheaded by the newly formed Movement Against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (MACAB), a conglomerate of several NGOs and four tribal outfits, including Tripura’s oldest tribal party Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT).

The North-East Students Organisation (NESO), which on January 8 called an 11-hour shutdown in the entire northeastern region excluding Sikkim to oppose the Citizenship Bill, was also part of the agitation.

NESO is an association of eight student and youth organisations from seven northeastern states.

All India Congress Committee (AICC) Secretary in-charge of Sikkim and the working President of the Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee, Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debburman, and Tripura Congress General Secretary and tribal leader Dinesh Debbarma also spoke at the demonstrations.

“The sit-in demonstration was peaceful and no untoward incident took place. Vehicular movement was normal in the Tripura-Assam National Highway (NH 8),” Dhalai district police chief Sudipta Das told IANS over telephone from the district headquarters.

NH 8 is the life line of the mountainous Tripura.

MACAB Convener Upendra Debbarma and INPT General Secretary Jagadhish Debbarma told the media that their agitation would be intensified if the government did not meet their two demands.

INPT President Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl told the gathering that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to grant citizenship to migrants from six non-Muslim minority groups from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, when enacted into an Act, would jeopardise the demography of the indigenous people of northeast India comprising eight states.

Upendra Debbarma, who is also the Vice Chairman of NESO, said that earlier this week a 15-member delegation of NESO met Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Meghalaya Chief Minister and National People’s Party (NPP) President Conrad Sangma, Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and leaders of several parties in Delhi and Mumbai and apprised them about the issue.

“All the leaders assured us that they would be with the northeastern parties on the issue of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill,” Debbarma said.

INPT’s Jagadhish Debbarma said that Tripura police have registered a case with sedition charges against three senior tribal leaders, including him, for organising a protest rally on January 30 at the TTAADC headquarters in Khumulwng against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

The agitating tribal leaders also indicated that a few tribal organisations might resort to agitation on Saturday during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the state.

During his visit, Modi would unveil a statue of Tripura’s late king Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya at the airport, inaugurate an extended railway line and open an academic building of the Tripura Institute of Technology run by the state government.

Elaborate security arrangements have been for the Prime Minister’s visit.




Pro-Talk faction ULFA leader lauds Meghalaya CM for ‘bold standa’ on Citizenship Bill

Praising Meghalaya Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma for his “bold stand” against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, United Liberation Front of Asom’s (ULFA) pro-talk faction’s General Secretary, Anup Chetia on Tuesday urged the people of the northeastern states to stand united in opposing the Bill.

“The people of the region should stand united as one in opposing the amendment bill. We have to oppose the bill since the BJP and RSS are trying to finish our indigenous identity and culture only to serve its political interest,” he told journalists here after meeting Chief Sangma.

Eulogising Sangma for opposing the Bill, Chetia said the people of the entire northeastern appreciated Sangma’s stand as it is very encouraging especially to the people of Assam.

“We came here to congratulate him. We need leaders like Conrad not only in Meghalaya but in the whole North Eastern Region. We are still standing against the Citizenship Bill and will go against it along with the people of Assam and also with the help of people of the region as a whole,” Chetia said.

The top ULFA insurgent leader, who is also the convener of the North East Indigenous People’s Forum (NEIPF), warned the central government not t o go ahead with the Bill as people in the northeastern region are strongly o pposing the Bill.

“We at the NEIPF had voiced our concern to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Bill. We have told them that if they go ahead with the Bill t he situation would be worse not only in Assam but all over the Northeast reg ion. We would continue to fight aggressively to ensure that the Centre does n ot pass the bill,” Chetia said.

Several northeast-based political parties, including the opposition Congress party has strongly opposed the Bill.

The Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government, which the BJP is part of the ruling coalition, is the first government to have rejected the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

On the growing demand for implementation of Inner Line Permit (ILP) system t o restrict entry of outsiders in Meghalaya, Chetia said, “We are not discussing ILP because there is some problem in Assam. Implementation of ILP is a big problem, but I think in Meghalaya it can be implemented.”

Chetia formed the Meghalaya chapter of NEIPF and vowed to work for safeguarding the indigenous people in the whole North Eastern Region.

Three organisations in Meghalaya, the Federation of Khasi Jaitia and Garo People, Hynniewtrep Youth Front and Ri Bhoi Youth Federation are part of the NEIPF Meghalaya chapter.



Narendra Modi urges Trinamool to support Citizenship Bill

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday urged West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress to support the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Parliament to give the refugees living in India the right to citizenship.

Addressing a rally in West Bengal’s Thakurnagar, home to the Dalit Matua community, Modi said India is the only place that can provide shelter to thousands of Hindus, Sikhs and refugees of other communities, who came from neighbouring countries to save themselves from communal violence.

“After the country was divided during independence, thousands of people including the Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Parsis had to take shelter in India due to communal violence.

“These refugees should get the right to citizenship. India is the only place that can provide them shelter,” Modi said addressing a packed ground here in North 24 Parganas district.

“That’s why our government has come up with Citizenship Amendment Bill. I urge the Trinamool Congress leaders to support the Bill and help the refugee brothers and sisters to get their rights,” he said.

The Lok Sabha has already cleared the Bill, which is now pending in the Rajya Sabha.

Taking a swipe at Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, Modi said the massive gathering at his rally shows why Banerjee and her party were resorting to violence to stop the Bharatiya Janata Party here.

“After seeing the crowds and the enthusiastic scenes, I understand why didi (elder sister — as Banerjee is affectionately called) is resorting to violence.

“This is your love, which has scared those who are doing drama of saving democracy and are bent on killing innocent people,” he said.




Nude protest against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill

Three men on Friday staged a nude protest near the Secretariat here in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

The protesters were swiftly removed by security personnel, police said.

Protests against the Bill have enveloped virtually the entire north-eastern region since the Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8.

The Bill seeks to provide Indian citizenship to six non-Muslim minority groups from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The fear in the northeast is that if this is done, “outsiders” will overwhelm the locals in the region.

A nude protest was also staged last month by 10 Assamese youths in front of Parliament in the national capital.