Jurassic republic with two dinosaurs: Full text of Kapil Sibal's speech in Rajya Sabha
The Congress lawmaker was speaking about the Citizenship Amendment Bill
I rise to oppose this bill.
Sir, I was very disturbed the other day when the distinguished Home Minister, said the other day, in the other house, why do we need this bill after Independence, if Congress had not done the partition on the basis of religion, then we wouldn't have needed this bill. The Congress did the partition on the basis of religion.I don't understand which history books the learned Home Minister has read, which authors he has consulted. But I would like to remind him, of what Savarkar said. The two nation theory. You are going to fulfill it today by passing this bill, if it is passed. Savarkar said, and I quote, "As it is there, there are two antagonistic nations living side by side in India. (That's not us). Several infantile politicians make the serious mistake of supposing that India is already welded into a harmonious nation, or that it could be welded thus for the mere wish to do so. These are well meaning but unthinkable friends who take their dreams for reality, that is why they are impatient of communal tangles and attribute them to communal organisations."
The two nation theory, was perpetrated by Savarkar and this is what Ambedkar said. He said, 'Strange as it may appear, Mr. Savarkar and Mr. Jinnah, instead of being opposed to each on the one-nation or two-nation issue, are in complete agreement about it. Both agree, not only agree, but insist, that there are two nations in India, one the Muslim nation and the other the Hindu nation.'
I request the Home Minister to withdraw that allegation. It was we in the Congress, who believed in that one nation. You don't believe in it.
Sir, the next point, the Home Minister rightly said that this is an historic bill. Yes it is an historic bill, because you are now changing the basis of the constitution. That is why it is historic. You are about to change our history. That is why this is historic. You also said that crores of people will see a new dawn tomorrow. But I also want to tell you that, the night won't end for lakhs of people. You say that your Prime Minister believes in Sabkar Sath, Sabka Vikas, but he has lost the confidence of the many because since 2014, he has never sided with the many.
You said rise above politics, I request you Home Minister, you rise above politics. Because this is nothing but politics. You are destroying the future of this country. I have the following things to say and following objections about this bill.
First, this bill gives legal colour to the two-nation theory, which I have already stated.
Two, religion cannot be a factor in the acquisition of citizenship. That has been rejected by the constitution of India.
Sir there are three concepts that you must understand, which is the basis of citizenship.
Number one, born in the territory of India. Number two, my parents were born in the territory of India, descent and number three, that I am an ordinary resident of the territory of India. There is no fourth concept, on which the basis of which citizenship can be granted. Sir I might tell you something very interesting. I myself belong to a family, which used to live in Lahore. I came to India and I was born here in 1948 but my brothers, my sisters, my parents, my grandparents, were all born in Pakistan. We were all refugees.
When we came to India, we were not citizens of India. Why? because we were not born in the Republic of India. Therefore we were not citizens of India. But there was a provision in the constitution, which said that if you are born in and India of 1935, undivided India, then you shall be a citizen of India. But that was not the only thing, I had to become a resident of India. I had to come to India, six months prior to July 1948. And if I came to India six months prior to that, I would have been a citizen of India.
So residence, ordinary residence, bona fide residence is an essential element of being a citizen. For those who came after the 19th of July 1948, they had to file and application before the appropriate authority and in that application, before they filed it, they should have been the residents of India for last six months. They too could now get the citizenship. So that's the basis, the foundation of citizenship.
That's why Mr. Chidambaram asked, who has advised you to do all this. Who had advised you, who has given you that opinion from the law ministry and the Attorney General?
Let me tell you something else now, sir. Under Article 11, there is a provision, which says that through another act, through a law made by parliament, somebody can acquire citizenship. Or terminate citizenship. That is the Citizenship Act. Now the Citizenship has some interesting provisions, let me just tell you, just a couple of them.
The Citizenship Act says that, if you are born in the territory of India, from January 26, 1950 to July 1, 1987, you shall be a citizen of India. If you're born in the territory of India, from July 1, 1987 to when the 2003 bill was passed which was passed in 2004 which is the Citizenship Amendment Bill, you shall be a citizen of India, if one of your parents is a citizen of India. And if you are born after 2004, you shall be a citizen of India if one of your parents is a citizen of India and the other is not an illegal migrant. That is the condition of the Citizenship Act. If one of the spouses is an illegal immigrant, you can't be a citizen of India.
Now sir, what amendment have you brought? Just think about it, what does your amendment say? Let me just tell you what it says. I am sure you've read it. Provided that, you are making an amendment to 2 (i) (b), you say, 'provided that any person belonging to the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Pakistan or Bangladesh, who entered into India, on or before 31st of December 2014 and who has been exempted by the Central Government, by or under clause c of Sec (ii) of Sec 3 of the Passport Entry into India Act 1920, or from the application of the provisions of the Foreigners Act 1946, or any rule or order they are under, shall not be treated as an illegal migrant for the purposes of this act.
Now please tell me, the Foreigners Act, deals with people who are declared to be foreigners. The Passport Entry into India Act, deals with people who have entered into India without a valid document. And now in your objective reasons you have said, that these are all people who have been persecuted. Where is the provision for persecution in the act? There is no provision for persecution. There is no provision for persecution.
If a man came from Bangladesh or from Pakistan, into India in 1972 and he has been an illegal migrant after 1972 till date, how will he prove, how will you say that he has been persecuted, unless he says that he has been persecuted? Amongst all the people who have come to India without any legal documentation, has anybody said that they have been persecuted? Do we have a law here which says that you apply and say that you have been persecuted and you shall be granted citizenship?
It is very interesting that in his speech Dr. Nadda (JP Nadda of the BJP) mentioned Dr. Manmohan Singh. And what he said, but he didn't mention, what Advaniji said. I wish he had. Because Dr. Manmohan Sing said that, look if people have been persecuted and they have come from our neighbouring countries, you must give them citizenship. And what did Advaniji say? I will tell you, He said in answer, there are various kinds of allegations made that you are making discrimination between this and that, which we do not want to do. We always say that a person who has to flee because of religious persecution, is a refugee. Bona fide a refugee. And he cannot be regarded on par with an illegal immigrant, who may have come here for many reasons, even for economic reasons. If he is an illegal immigrant, he is an illegal immigrant. This is what Advaniji said.
Now if these people are illegal immigrants, on what basis do you say that they have been persecuted? Has anybody said that they have been persecuted? There are also other illegal immigrants, I won't name the religion they belong to, who have also come, who are also illegal immigrants. So how do you discriminate between one illegal immigrant and another illegal immigrant? How can you say that these people have been persecuted or not? How do you know that they have been persecuted?
Let me give you an example. One person comes here in 1972. He has 2-3 children, he died. He is not alive today. His children say, give us citizenship, how will you provide it? The one dead is not there to tell if he was persecuted or not, nor has he said it before. So how will the children get citizenship? On what basis? What are the qualifications then? Has anyone said something like this?
The people you speak of are lakhs of people. The 19 lakh, let's talk about them. How many of them are Hindu, 5 lakhs, 6 lakhs, 10 lakhs, let's not go into that. But what Hindu has said that he was persecuted? You are under a great illusion. You know what they have said in their legacy papers? That I am a local resident. They have given declarations, that they live here. Through this bill, you are calling him a liar.
The person who is saying that he is a resident of India, you are telling him, no, you are not a resident of India, you came from Bangladesh, you were being persecuted, so we are giving you a citizenship. What kind of legislation is this? What are you doing to the constitution? You are ripping it into pieces. What is your objective? We all know your objective, we know it since 2014. Sometimes it is Ghar wapasi, sometimes love jihad, triple talaq, CAB, NRC, then again NRC then 370. We know your target. We know your outlook. You want to decide who lives or doesn't in this country seeing their names.
You made a very objectionable statement in the beginning of your speech, that the Muslims here, do not need to be afraid. What Muslim is scared of you? No muslim of India is scared of you. Neither am I scared, nor are the citizens scared and so aren't the Muslims of this country. If we are intimidated, we are by the Constitution. The one which you are ripping apart.
Third point sir, they are targeting a community without naming it. In this bill they are targeting a community without naming it. It violates the basic structure of the constitution. It is divisive and exclusive. It will destabilise our polity and 18 to 20 million people will not trust us. It weakens the foundations of our culture, of our beliefs, of our ethos. It has consequences that you can't even imagine. And this is part of your political strategy.
The last thing I want to say sir, is this that this is legally terrible and morally reprehensible. Those who have no idea of India, cannot protect the 'Idea of India'.
Don't convert this Indian Republic, into a Jurassic republic where there are two Dinosaurs.