New Delhi: In a stormy session that ultimately saw the Congress walk out, Home Minister Rajnath Singh defended the Citizenship Amendment Bill as he tabled it in Lok Sabha on Tuesday. (Also read: Asom Gana Parishad Snaps Ties With BJP in Assam Over Citizenship Amendment Bill)
The Bill aims to provide citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan after six years of residence in the country even if they do not have proper documents. Northeastern states, Assam in particular, are up in arms against the Bill since January 4 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the Bill will be passed as soon as possible in Parliament as “penance for past injustices”.
Speaking on the National Register of Citizens (NRC), Singh sought to clarify, “We are committed towards the NRC. There will be no discrimination in the NRC. All the necessary steps will be taken to deal with illegal migrants.” He also added that the Citizenship Amendment Bill “is not for Assam alone or for the betterment of migrants coming from a particular country. This Bill is also for migrants who have come from the Western borders have settled down in Rajasthan, Punjab and Delhi.”
He said that surveys had been conducted to help in framing the Bill.
Meanwhile, an 11-hour North-East bandh, called by students’ organisations and political parties to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill began at 5 AM on Tuesday.
In Assam, the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) had called for the state-wide bandh with the support of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) which had withdrawn support to the BJP-led government in Assam the previous day.
Shops, markets, financial institutions remained shut and vehicles, including long-distance buses, kept off roads in the Brahmaputra valley, police said. Attendance in government offices was also thin as the employees had difficulty in reaching workplace.