New Delhi: The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) is planning a series of protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and will appeal to President Ram Nath Kovind not to give his assent to the "unconstitutional" legislation, party president K M Kader Mohideen said on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, the IUML moved the Supreme Court challenging the Bill, saying it violates the fundamental Right to Equality enshrined in the Constitution and intends to grant citizenship to a section of illegal immigrants by making an exclusion on the basis of religion.
The Bill, which proposes to give citizenship to non-Muslim migrants who have come to India from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh facing religious persecution there, was passed by Rajya Sabha on Wednesday and by Lok Sabha on Monday.
Besides fighting the Bill legally, the IUML plans to stage protests in state capitals and carry out a campaign to collect people's signatures against the legislation which, it said, "is against the basic principles of the Constitution and secularism".
Mohideen said a party delegation would also meet the President and request him not to give his assent to the Bill.
The IUML also appealed to other opposition parties to implead themselves in the plea it has filed in the Supreme Court.
"The IUML national committee will meet soon and take the issue forward," he said.
Questioning the passage of the Bill, he said constitutional principles should be upheld by everybody, including the government. "Then only India will remain a secular state," he added.
IUML general secretary and Lok Sabha member P K Kunhalikutty wondered why the government wanted to exclude only Muslims in the Bill, "totally going against the Constitution which states nothing could be done on the basis of religion, caste and creed".
The party's protest is mainly against the "discrimination" being made against Muslims and it has no problem if citizenship is given to all genuine migrants, he said.
Kunhalikutty said he did not want to buy the government's theory that non-Muslims were being persecuted in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
"It is just an imagination. Persecution is not the only reason for people to migrate. Migrations are there in many countries. But why are you discriminating against Muslims and not giving citizenship to migrants among them?" he asked.