The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday released its election manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls with a promise to pass the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
Released at the party office in New Delhi in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, the “Sankalpit Bharat Sashakt Bharat” pledged to pass the bill if the party comes to power at the Centre.
Highlighted under the ‘Nation First’ category of the manifesto, the BJP pledge said that, “we are committed to the enactment of the Citizenship Amendment Bill for the protection of individuals of religious minority communities from neighbouring countries escaping persecution.”
The manifesto further highlighted the ‘apprehensions of the people from the Northeast’ and said that the bill will protect the linguistic identity of the Northeast states. “We will make all efforts to clarify the issues to the sections of population from the Northeastern states who have expressed apprehensions regarding the legislation. We reiterate our commitment to protect the linguistic, cultural and social identity of the people of Northeast. Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs escaping persecution from India’s neighbouring countries will be given citizenship in India,” the manifesto further read.
The controversial bill, which has already been passed in the Lok Sabha, endorses citizenship to the Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Jain, and Parsi migrants who have come to India facing religious persecution up to December 31, 2014.
The bill has widely been opposed in Assam and other Northeast states.