Amid Protests, Citizenship (Amendment) Bill Gets 311 ‘Ayes’ in LS
Amit Shah rejected allegations that the Bill was anti-Muslim, saying it has the endorsement of 130 crore citizens.
The Lok Sabha passed a Bill, which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan after facing religious persecution there, a little past midnight on Monday, 9 December.
After over seven-hour-long debate, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 was passed in the Lok Sabha with 311 members favouring it and 80 voting against it.
Several amendments brought by opposition members, including one by Shiv Sena MP, were defeated either by voice vote or by a division.
According to the proposed legislation, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, till 31 December 2014 and facing religious persecution there, will not be treated as illegal immigrants and will be given Indian citizenship.
‘Bill in Line With India’s Old Ethos of Assimilation’: Modi
Right after the Bill was passed in the House, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday night expressed delight, saying the proposed law is in line with India's centuries old ethos of assimilation and belief in humanitarian values.
The prime minister, who addressed election rallies in Jharkhand earlier in the day, was not present in the House during the passage of the Bill.
In his address before the voting began, Home Minister Amit Shah stated that neither Muslims nor those from the Northeast should be apprehensive of the Bill as it only helps the minority migrants.
Shah rejected allegations that the bill was anti-Muslim, claiming that it has the endorsement of 130 crore citizens.
“The Citizenship Amendment Bill does not include Muslims migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan only because they are not minorities there. It’s as simple as that,” Shah added.
However, various Opposition parties, have termed the Bill “unconstitutional” and “not in line with secular party policy.”
Students in Assam Reject CAB in Massive Protest
The tabling of the emotive bill through division of votes came in the wake of protests and incidents of violence in Northeastern states with most of the student unions and regional political parties opposing it, saying it will nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985, which fixed 24 March 1971, as the cut-off date for deportation of all illegal immigrants irrespective of religion.
Meanwhile, shortly before the Bill was passed, videos circulated online of students in Assam taking to streets to protest against the Bill at night.
Earlier, during the debate in the House, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi also tore the Bill, saying it was aimed at making Muslims “stateless” and will lead to another partition.
Opposing the bill, Congress MP Manish Tewari said the bill is “unconstitutional” and “contrary to the spirit of the Constitution which is secular.
BJP issued whip to its Rajya Sabha MPs to be present on 10 and 11 December. The Bill will now be tabled in Rajya Sabha for its approval on Wednesday.
(With inputs from PTI)
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