New Delhi: After a 12-hour-long dramatic debate on Monday, the Lok Sabha passed the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 after Home Minister Amit Shah rejected the opposition claims on it violating core principles of the Indian Constitution. The contentious bill is likely to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
The legislation was passed in Lok Sabha by 311 votes in support and 80 against it.
Appealing to the members of Parliament amid the heated discussions, the Home Minister in his concluding address said, “Under no dimension, is this bill unconstitutional, or against Article 14,” adding that it will give a relief to all the people who are suffering due to a life of persecution in the neighbouring countries.
Explaining the situation in connection to the ongoing protests in the northeastern states, Shah assured protection for all of Northeast under the Inner Line Permit system and said, “The whole of Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram are protected by the Inner Line Permit (ILP), they have nothing to fear. All of Nagaland, barring just a small part of Dimapur is protected by Inner Line Permit, they too have nothing to worry.”
With the implementation of ILP, the northeastern states will be exempted from the legislation.
Replying to a suggestion by the Opposition that it was anti-Muslim, Shah said that Islam community that has been worrying about negligence should also not fear because the Centre has “done no discrimination on basis of religion & in future as well, there will be no discrimination based on religion.”
“In 1991, the Hindu population was 84 per cent and in 2011, it was 79 per cent. In 1991, the Muslim population was 9.8 per cent and today it’s 14.23 per cent. We have done no discrimination on the basis of religion and in future as well, there will be no discrimination based on religion,” he added.
“Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) is ours, the people there are also ours. Even today, we have reserved 24 seats for them in the Jammu & Kashmir assembly,” he further asserted.
Commenting on the infiltration of Rohingya Muslims, Shah said it is not possible to include Rohingyas because India will never accept Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.
“There is a difference between a refugee and an infiltrator. Those who come here due to persecution, to save their religion and the honour of the women of their family, they are refugees and those who come here illegally are infiltrators,” he added.
The much-talked-about bill was tabled in the Parliament’s lower house by Amit Shah amid stark protests by opposition members who called it “unconstitutional” and contrary to the nation’s secularity. Meanwhile, as the discussions continued to heat up AIMIM chief Asadusddin Owaisi tore apart a copy of the citizenship bill.
Notably, if the bill is passed in the Rajya Sabha, it will grant citizenship to refugees coming from the three countries – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh – who are facing religious persecution there even without documents, including ration cards.