Religion is nowhere mentioned in Indian citizenship laws: Owaisi

Hyderabad (Telangana): After a war of words broke out with Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Twitter over the National Register of Citizens (NRC), AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Wednesday said the word “religion” is nowhere mentioned in Indian citizenship laws.

“The Minister of Assam has shown his ignorance about the Indian Constitution and his arrogance because he believes in the ideology of Hindutva. The word ‘religion’ is mentioned nowhere in our citizenship laws,” Owaisi said at a press conference here.

“I challenge the Assam Minister and any Sangh Pariwar person to show me where religion is mentioned. Citizenship is given not on the basis of religion. This law came into force on November 20, 1949,” he added.

“I remind the Sangh Pariwar ideologues that they should read the Constituent Assembly debates. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel said in the Constituent assembly that the provision about the citizenship will be scrutinized all over the world. The Constituent Assembly rejected the racial principle of then South Africa. BJP shall protect the refugees who are in Assam, but how can they be made a citizen of India,” Owaisi asked.

The whole controversy started after Owaisi re-tweeted a tweet which said: “The Government of India and Government of Assam through Foreigners Tribunal and Citizenship Amendment Bill are going to take care of Hindu migrants.”

Replying to this, Sarma tweeted: “If India does not protect Hindus, who will protect them? Pakistan? India shall forever remain the home for persecuted Hindus, irrespective of your opposition Sir.”

“Sir, India is a civilization, not a country. History of a country starts with the Constitution. But the history of civilization starts with much more. India that is Bharat was, is and will remain a vibrant civilization. For Hindus, India has been our homeland for more than 5,000 years!” he said in another tweet.

Responding to BJP leaders’ comment on infiltrators, Owaisi said: “Kiren Rijiju said in Parliament that there are 2 crore infiltrators in the country. Amit Shah, who is now India’s Home Minister, had said that there are 50 lakh infiltrators. He said that infiltrators are termites. It reminds me of Hitler who had said that Jews are like cockroaches.”

In the final list of NRC published on August 31, a total of more than 3 crores people were found eligible for inclusion in the list while over 19 lakh people have been excluded.

NRC is a register containing names of Indian citizens, which was prepared for the first time in 1951. It is being updated for Assam as of now to weed out illegal immigrants from the state.