New Delhi: India’s intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) had expressed its apprehensions to a joint parliamentary committee on an earlier version of the Citizenship Amendment Bill which was introduced in the Lok Sabha.
“Agencies who are inimical to us should not have a legal framework within which they can exploit our situation and infiltrate their own people into our country. That is a matter of great concern for us,” said the RAW bureaucrat, who is understood to be Sujit Chatterjee, joint secretary, RAW.
The dissent of nine MPs, including Bhartruhari Mahtab, Derek O’ Brien, Mohammad Salim, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary and Sushmita Dev is also recorded in this report of the joint parliamentary committee. Senior officers from India’s Intelligence Bureau (IB) had also deposed before this committee.
The controversial bill seeks to grant Indian citizenship to refugees from six non-Muslim communities facing religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. It conspicuously leaves out Muslims who may want to seek refuge in India. It is thus being criticised for being discriminatory, and is being seen as a move towards altering India’s secular fabric. Until now, Indian citizenship has not been denied or given to people on the basis of their religion.
Social and political considerations aside, RAW had raised security concerns regarding the implementation of the earlier version of this Bill, which had been passed by the Lok Sabha but had not been cleared by the Rajya Sabha.
According to a report presented by the joint parliamentary committee to the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in January this year, a senior bureaucrat of RAW who deposed before the joint parliamentary committee said that they had “great concern” that the CAB could be misused by foreign actors who are “inimical” to Indian interests. In fact, he said, the CAB could become “legal framework” which they could use to infiltrate India.