New Delhi: A Hindu refugee family staying at Delhi’s Majnu ka Tila has named their two-day-old daughter ‘Nagarikta‘ (citizenship) hoping that the birth of her daughter remains remarkable in more than one way — not only a joy to the family but a joy to many other refugee families like them. “It is my earnest wish that the Citizenship Amendment Bill passes in parliament,” the mother had said hours before the Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha.
The Hindu family has come to India from Pakistan.
Following a heated debate in the Rajya Sabha, the Bill to grant citizenship to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Jains fleeing religious persecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan was passed by 125-99 votes.
The Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday.
In the present form, the Bill will allow refugees who have come to India before December 31, 2014, to apply for Indian citizenship without having to wait as the five-year waiting period, as mandated in the Bill, will come to an end by December 31, 2019.
Over fears of discrimination against Muslims, Union home minister Amit Shah said on Wednesday that misinformation is being spread. “This Bill doesn’t concern existing Muslims. This Bill is to give citizenship rights; not to take it away. How is this Bill related to Indian Muslims? They need not worry,” he said.
“Some people are saying that we should give citizenship to anyone from neighbouring countries. These three neighbouring countries are Muslim majority nations and Islam is enshrined in their constitutions. Hence, they cannot face religious persecution as other communities do. What are some people saying? That we should give citizenship to Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan too? Should we make Muslims from across the world our citizens? How can this be? How can a country function like this?” the minister had said.