Terming the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) 2019 "divisive, discriminatory, unconstitutional", more than 600 intellectuals, including writers, filmmakers and academicians have urged the government to withdraw the proposed law which promises citizenship to members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
The signatories include writers like Arundhati Roy, Nayantara Sahgal, Ashok Vajpeyi, Paul Zacharia and Amitav Ghosh, among others, Muslimmirror reports.
The intellectuals' group published a statement on Tuesday opposing CAB, saying it will alter the character of the Indian republic, reports the Indian weekly Outlook.
This comes a day after over 1000 scientists and scholars from across India unanimously expressed their "dismay" over CAB and demanded an "immediate withdrawal" of the Bill saying it violates the "spirit of the constitution".
They demanded the government to not "betray" the Constitution while calling on people to push for maintaining the "Constitutional commitment to an equal and secular citizenry."
In separate letters and petitions, they asserted that the proposed legislation threatens the federal framework provided by the Constitution and will fundamentally alter the character of the Indian republic if it comes into force.
The statement said, "The Citizenship Bill, as well as a nation-wide NRC, will unleash widespread division and suffering among people across the country — rather than address the critical needs of the people."
"It violates the secular principles enshrined in the Constitution — including Articles 14,15, 16 and 21 which guarantee the right to equality; equality before the law; and non-discriminatory treatment by the Indian state," the statement said.
Meanwhile, a group of 230 activists, academics, artists and concerned citizens of Gujarat wrote another letter in opposition to the CAB.
They said in the letter that the Bill "conveniently omits Ahmadis from Pakistan, Rohingyas from Myanmar, and Tamils from Sri Lanka, proving that the bill is not about protecting refugees, but instead is intended simply to advance the agenda of Hindutva."
The letter also underlines that there has been "little to no communication" with neighboring countries over the practical side of the bill if it becomes law regarding the deportation of illegal immigrants.
Protests have erupted all across the country, especially in the North East, after the Bill was passed by Lok Sabha.
As the bill awaits passage in Rajya Sabha, the opposition to the draft law by intellectuals and civil society is increasing.