Parliament has approved the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019. Rajya Sabha passed the bill by majority vote today. 125 votes were cast in favour and 105 against the bill. Lok Sabha had passed the bill on Monday.
Replying the discussion, Home Minister Amit Shah said that the bill is a historic necessity to redress the hardships being faced by the minorities in the neighbouring Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
He said, after the partition on religious lines the minorities in those countries are subjected to continuous persecution. Mr. Shah questioned why the Congress agreed the partition be on a religious basis.
The bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants of six communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship.
The communities are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians. Answering the constitutionality, Mr. Shah said, the bill has reasonable classification to meet the conditions.
The Minister informed the house that in the last five years India is considerate to give citizenship to 566 Muslims from those countries. He said, unlike the Congress, the NDA Government has a vast definition for religious freedom.
Mr Shah said, the bill is neither brought in haste nor any smoke screen to divert from the issues as alleged by the opposition. He reminded that the bill was brought in 2015 also. He said, earlier, multiple amendments have been made in the Citizenship Act and citizenship has been provided to people of Sri Lanka and Uganda.
Earlier, Congress, Left, TMC, SP, DMK, BSP, RJD, NCP and TRS opposed the bill terming it unconstitutional.
Initiating the discussion, Mr Anand Sharma of Congress alleged that the bill is an attack on the soul of the Constitution. Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal criticized the government and said the bill give legal colour to the two nation theory.
Opposing the Bill, Mr Derek O'Brien of TMC termed it as unconstitutional. Mr Javed Ali Khan of Samajwadi Party also accused the government of working to marginalize the Muslims in India.
Mr Satish Chandra Mishra of BSP said, this bill is against the Preamble of the Constitution as Muslims have been excluded. Mr Praful Patel of NCP said, the Constitution has given equal rights to every citizen and this bill must be sent to the Select Committee for further scrutiny.
Mr K. Keshav Rao of TRS questioned the government, why the people of Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Myanmar who are persecuted on the religious basis have not been included under the legislation. He demanded that this bill should be withdrawn.
Earlier, Chairman, M. Venkaiah Naidu rejected the objection of Mr Sukhendu Shekar Roy of TMC that the bill is faulty in nature and it should not be taken into consideration.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed happiness on the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Rajya Sabha.
In a tweet, Mr Modi said, it is a landmark day for India and the nation’s ethos of compassion and brotherhood. He expressed gratitude to all the Members of Parliament who voted in favour of the Bill.
The Prime Minister said, the Bill will alleviate the suffering of many who faced persecution for years.
Home Minister Amit Shah said, as the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 passes in Parliament, the dreams of crores of deprived and victimised people has come true today.
In a tweet, Mr Shah said, he is grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his resolve to ensure dignity and safety for these affected people. He thanked everyone for their support.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar has congratulated people on the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 in the Rajya Sabha.
In a tweet, Mr Javadekar said, the historic step was taken under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
He said, it will provide a dignified life to religiously oppressed minorities from India's neighbourhood. Congress President Sonia Gandhi has said that the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill is a victory of narrow-minded over the country's pluralism.
In a statement, she reiterated Congress' determination to be relentless in its struggle against what she alleged is the BJP's polarising agenda. (AIR NEWS)