Six times World Champion and Olympic medallist boxer MC Mary Kom attended Rajya Sabha on Wednesday and voted in favour of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 despite her personal reservations.
In an interview given to ABP News before the RS session, Mary said, "It's a very important Bill. If the request has come from the Minister or the government, I should be in the House only. I know, the Bill is going to be passed. It's not in my hands of course and my opinion here does not matter. If the government is supporting and everyone is supporting then I will also support it,"
She pointed out that she was still a sportsperson and not a politician. "I am not a politician. If the Government has taken a decision then even if I request them to withdraw CAB. It's not going to be withdrawn. At this stage, it's not going to stop. If the decision is already taken, then I will just follow that. If you insist on what do I want, then I will say I just want to win Olympic gold in Tokyo for my country."
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill or CAB, which grants Indian citizenship to the non-Muslims of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill will now go to the President for his assent. As many as 125 lawmakers voted in the favour of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and 99 against it. The bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants in the select categories eligible for citizenship.
The CAB voting in Rajya Sabha was taken up after six hours of debate on the legislation. Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu had allotted the six-hour time to the MPs to discuss the Indian citizenship bill.
The legislation has been attacked by opposition parties, minority outfits and others for leaving out Muslims and also on the grounds that it is at odds with the Constitution, which does not differentiate between citizens on the basis of their faith.
The CAB has sparked resentment in the northeast as it is feared that granting citizenship to foreign refugees will undermine the ethnic communities living in these regions. There are indications that the government is working out a compromise. Formulations like provision of citizenship not leading to residency status in the smaller north-east states were discussed.
Former Indian football team captain Bhaichung Bhutia on Tuesday expressed disappointment that Sikkim was not excluded from the ambit of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, unlike several other states in the north-east.
Mr Bhutia, working president of Hamro Sikkim Party, said the legislation will dilute special provisions of the Himalayan state that it enjoys under Article 371F of the Constitution.
He asked the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha-led government to press for implementing Inner Line Permit in the state and quit the NDA in protest against the passage of the bill.