A group of lawyers on Monday assembled outside the Bombay High Court to read out the Preamble to the Indian Constitution in protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act, PTI reported.
Over 50 lawyers, including senior counsels Navroz Seervai, Gayatri Singh and Mihir Desai, read out the Preamble together. They said no one can divide the country and its citizens on the basis of religion. The lawyers said the amended citizenship law was “constitutionally wrong”.
Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act are continuing across the country, more than a month after it was passed in Parliament. The amendments, notified on January 10, provide citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. At least 26 people died in protests against the legislation last month.
The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims. In Northeastern states, demonstrators feel the Act will erode their ethnic identities by granting citizenship to foreigners on religious grounds. Over the last year, the government has repeatedly claimed that the new citizenship law would be the precursor to a countrywide National Register of Citizens, intended to identify so-called illegal immigrants and deport them. Taken together, it is feared, the law and the register will work towards excluding Indian Muslims from citizenship.