BJP has been citing the letter written by Prakash Karat, the then General Secretary of the Party, on May 22, 2012 to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding that Bengali refugees be given citizenship by amending the Citizenship Act.
The CPI(M) on Wednesday denied allegations that it had supported the Citizenship Amendment Bill and said that at no time did the party demand exclusion of Muslim migrants from being considered for citizenship. BJP has been citing the letter written by Prakash Karat, the then General Secretary of the Party, on May 22, 2012 to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding that Bengali refugees be given citizenship by amending the Citizenship Act.
“The BJP, in order to defend the indefensible Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), is accusing the CPI(M) and the Communists, in general, of doublespeak on the question of giving citizenship to Bengali refugees from East Pakistan and later Bangladesh. The BJP is twisting the facts to make this false allegation,” the party said in a statement.
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It said that the CPI(M) had always wanted Bengali minority refugees from erstwhile East Pakistan and later Bangladesh to be given citizenship. “But the CAA does so on the basis of religious identity and by excluding Muslim migrants. At no time had the CPI(M) demanded exclusion of Muslim migrants from being considered for citizenship. That is why the party has strongly opposed the CAA,” it said.
The statement also said that the CPI(M) had adopted a resolution, ‘For Rights of Bengali Refugees’ at the 20th Congress of the Party in April 2012 in which the Party had spelt out its stand on the matter.
“In this resolution, it was made clear that the Assam Accord should be protected when giving citizenship to refugees from Bangladesh is considered. This means that the March 1971 cutoff date as per the Assam Accord should not be disturbed. The CAA violates this cutoff limit for Assam. That is another reason why the CPI(M) opposed the CAB in parliament,” it said. The CPI(M) MPs in parliament had moved three amendments to the CAB.
Two amendments were meant to remove the religious classification of minorities and to see that migrants from all neighbouring countries, irrespective of their religion, could be considered for citizenship. “This was to cover, for instance, the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees living in Tamil Nadu. The third amendment was to exempt Assam and other north-eastern states from the purview of the bill,” it said.