The Shiromani Akali Dal on Sunday hailed the NDA government's decision to introduce the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Parliament, saying a long-pending demand of the party has been accepted. The party, however, said the Bill should cover all persecuted people irrespective of their religion. It said keeping in view the country's socialistic, secular and democratic credentials as well as humanitarian principles, Muslims should not be excluded from the Bill on the basis of religion.
A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the party's core committee which was presided over SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal at Badal village in Muktsar, a release said here.
The party appreciated the Bill and said, "The NDA government has fulfilled the demand of the SAD as well as all minorities, including Sikhs, Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians, who had fled religious persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh and taken refuge in India."
The SAD president noted that the party had been raising the issue of more than 75,000 Sikhs who had fled Afghanistan over 30 years ago and were living in Delhi in a difficult situation.
The core committee, while lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for the legislation, said efforts should be made to encompass all persecuted people under the Bill and not to have any distinction based on religion.
"Accordingly, a clause should be inserted in the Bill stating that all persecuted people who had sought refuge in the country would be given citizenship irrespective of their religion," the party release said.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah will introduce the legislation in the Lok Sabha on Monday. The Bill seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
In the afternoon, the home minister will introduce the Bill to amend the six-decade-old Citizenship Act and later in the day, it will be taken up for discussion and passage, according to the Lok Sabha's list of business for Monday.
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