• Wednesday, Sep 23, 2020
  • Last Update : 12:26 pm

Mamata Banerjee: UN referendum on citizenship act if BJP has guts

  • Published at 06:31 pm December 19th, 2019
web-Mamata Banerjee
File photo of Mamata Banerjee Reuters

The chief minister has refused to implement the new law and the National Registry of Citizens

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has dared the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to hold a UN-monitored referendum on its new citizenship law, amid the countrywide unrest it has provoked.

"If BJP has guts, it should go for a UN-monitored referendum on the amended Citizenship Act and NRC", she said, addressing a huge rally in Kolkata, part of a 10-city protest, on Thursday.

The chief minister has refused to implement the new law and the National Registry of Citizens, which the government plans to roll out across the country after its introduction in Assam earlier this year, reports NDTV.

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) applies a religious test to whether illegal migrants from neighbouring countries can be fast-tracked for Indian citizenship. It advantages Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsees and Jains, but not Muslims.

Government officials say that the law is intended to protect persecuted religious minorities in neighbouring countries. 

However, it would not protect persecuted Muslims, including the Rohingya in neighbouring Myanmar.

For Islamic groups, the opposition in parliament, rights activists and others in India, the new law is a part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist agenda of marginalising India's 200 million Muslims. He denies the allegation.

Rights groups and a Muslim political party are challenging the law in the Supreme Court, arguing that it is against the constitution and India's secular traditions.

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