Over 900 Indian scientists and academicians in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asked for the withdrawal of the Citizenship Amendment Bill which was passed in the Lok Sabha by an overwhelming majority on Tuesday night.
In the letter, the scientists stated that they support government’s intention of giving refuge to the persecuted minorities from the hostility of the neighbouring countries but raised the concern about the exclusion of the Muslims from the ambit of the bill.
The letter stated, “The idea of India that emerged from the independence movement, and as enshrined in our constitution, is that of a country that aspires to treat people of all faiths equally. The use of religion as a criterion for citizenship in the proposed bill would mark a radical break with this history and would be inconsistent with the basic structure of the constitution.”
The letter ended with the demand for the bill’s immediate withdrawal and replaced it with suitable legislation to support the cause of the persecuted minorities.
The Times of India report named the signatories of the letter which included Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Sandeep Pandey, Rajesh Gopakumar from International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, Sandip Trivedi from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Academic and politician Zoya Hasan, and many more.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill seeks to grant nationality to the Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists who are minorities in the neighbouring countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
It has come under heavy scrutiny for its deliberate exclusion of the Muslims and the communal basis of the legislation. The North-Eastern states are already protesting against the provisions of the Bill.