In an embarrassment for the Narendra Modi-led Union government, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Tuesday sought to file a petition in the Supreme Court against the citizenship amendment law.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is an internal matter of India and that “no foreign party” had any locus standi on issues pertaining to the country’s sovereignty.
India’s Permanent Mission in Geneva was informed on Monday evening by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet that her office had filed an “intervention application” on the law in the Supreme Court, which is hearing a batch of pleas in this regard.
In the morning, Modi said peace, harmony and unity are prerequisites for the country’s development, while addressing Bharatiya Janata Party’s Members of Parliament. He said several forces were working to destabilise the country.
Modi also took a dig at Congress leader, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, saying the latter found a “bad smell” even in a slogan like 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' and looked at it with suspicion. At a recent event, Singh had said the slogan was being misused to construct a “militant and purely emotional” idea of India that excludes millions of residents and citizens.
In Parliament, both Houses could not transact any substantive business for a second successive day. In the Lok Sabha, Speaker Om Birla said the government was willing to hold a discussion on the communal violence in Delhi after the festival of Holi.
After Birla’s statement, Opposition MPs stormed well of the House and there was a repeat of Monday’s shoving and jostling between Opposition and ruling party MPs.
As tempers rose, Birla warned that members from both benches, who cross over to the other side during uproar would be suspended for the entire session.
However, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury walked over to the side of the Well facing the Treasury benches, which led to a commotion between the BJP and opposition members. Other Opposition party members, too, followed Chowdhury and a commotion broke out as BJP members blocked their way.
Locket Chatterjee, BJP MP from West Bengal, was seen having heated arguments with Chowdhury, and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tried to pacify them. On the day, the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which comes in the backdrop of PMC Bank scam, was introduced in the Lok Sabha by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The Bill seeks to strengthen cooperative banks.
In a reply to a written question, the Centre on Tuesday said in the Lok Sabha that it was discussing with state governments the preparations for updating the National Population Register (NPR) from April 1 to September 30. Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said no document would be collected during the exercise, which will be carried out along with the house-listing phase of Census 2021.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal called on the PM and requested that those responsible for the violence — irrespective of party affiliation — “should not be spared”.
Kejriwal appreciated the Delhi police for being proactive in controlling the situation, when rumours were spread on Sunday night.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said it seemed from the way Kejriwal spoke to the media after meeting that “AAP was not the BJP’s B-Team, but it was the saffron party’s team”.
India on Tuesday summoned Iran’s Ambassador Ali Chegeni and lodged a strong protest over the “unwarranted” comments by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif over communal violence in Delhi.
In a tweet on Monday, Zarif said Iran condemned the “wave of organised violence against Indian Muslims” and urged Indian authorities to “not let senseless thuggery” prevail.