Academics smell rat in proposed citizenship act

Staff Correspondent
Speaker addresses a discussion organised by Refugee and Migratory Movement Research Unit in capital’s Dhanmondi area on Sunday. — New Age photo

Speaker addresses a discussion organised by Refugee and Migratory Movement Research Unit in capital’s Dhanmondi area on Sunday. — New Age photo

Academics and jurists on Sunday criticised a bill on the draft of Bangladesh Citizenship Act 2015 saying that there was a huge loophole in the proposed act, which would lead to misuse of the law.
Addressing a discussion on ‘Draft Citizenship Bill of Bangladesh’, they said that the proposed law kept discriminatory provisions of different type of rights for different types of citizenship.
Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit, in short RMMRU, organised the discussion in the capital.
It was informed in the discussion that the bill was already approved in the cabinet and was now in the law ministry for vetting.
RMMRU coordinator and Dhaka University professor CR Abrar said the draft law said all people born in Bangladesh would be the citizens by birth if his father or mother was a citizen by birth since 1971.
‘That does mean those born before 1971 [as Pakistani in the then territory of the East Pakistan] and living in the country would not be citizens,’ he said.
‘If so, the senior citizens including the president, prime minister and the leader in the opposition would not be citizens of the country,’ he jokingly said.
Jurist Shahdeen Malik said at least two sections of the proposed law said a person born in Bangladesh would not be the country’s citizens if their parents or grandparents had any activities against Bangladesh and involved in any war against Bangladesh.
He said that the law had not specified ‘the activities against Bangladesh.’
Dhaka University’s law department professor Asif Nazrul alleged that the law was not formulated in a transparent way and that the law had an evil and political purpose to grab properties of the political opponents.
Jurist ZI Khan Panna said the draft law had a huge amount of ‘mistakes and contradictions’.
Supreme Court lawyer Asaduzzaman also spoke.

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