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On Manmohan’s video, Congress says parallels cannot be drawn

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New Delhi, Dec 20: After BJP posted a 2003 video of Manmohan Singh advocating citizenship to minorities from Bangladesh, the Congress said drawing such parallels in today's situation was "fake and fraud" as no previous government had to change the law for the purpose.

"There is a Liaqat-Nehru pact and there is talk of 1971. Is it comparable? What happened during Partition, is it comparable today?" Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.

File photo of Manmohan Singh

"These examples are fake, fraud," he added.

He said the dispensation led by Manmohan Singh between 2004 and 2014 "did not pass a new law" so as to give citizenship to people.

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"You can give (it) to some people through a notification. But today you brought a new law by naming communities in three countries. No government brought a new law like this.

Did Vajpayee government bring such a law by bringing three types of citizenship," he asked.

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    "...It was not a basis of our Constitution or the law. This was never imagined by anyone nor anyone proposed it," the Congress leader said.

    Facing flak from opposition parties over the new citizenship law, the BJP on Thursday posted a video clip of Congress leader Singh's 2003 speech in the Rajya Sabha in which he had advocated a "most liberal" approach to grant citizenship to minorities from neighbouring countries like Bangladesh.

    In the video, the former prime minister is heard saying, "After the partition of our country, minorities in countries like Bangladesh have faced persecution. And it is our moral obligation that if circumstances force people - these unfortunate people - to seek refuge in our country, our approach to granting citizenship to these unfortunate persons should be most liberal".

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    "I sincerely hope that the honourable deputy Prime Minister will bear this in mind in charting out the future course of action with regard to the citizenship act," he said.

    As Singh, who was the prime minister between 2004-14, finished his speech, then Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson Najma Heptullah is heard telling L K Advani, the then deputy prime minister, that minorities in Pakistan were also suffering and they too should be taken care of.

    Advani acknowledged the issue and said he fully endorsed what the leader of the opposition (Singh) said.

    The clip is from a debate on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill which was brought by then Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government.

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