Parliament on Wednesday approved legislation providing Indian citizenship to non-Muslims who fleed persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. The Citizenship Amendment Bill(CAB) 2019, which seeks to provide Indian nationality to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains, and Buddhists immigrants, got passed in Rajya Sabha. The Bill was passed in Lok Sabha on Monday, December 9.
Multiple amendments requests were made by the opposition parties, including to send the Bill to a selected committee, however, it got rejected. 125 Parliamentarians voted in favor of the CAB, while 105 voted against it. Moving the Bill in the Rajya Sabha earlier today, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that the legislation is a ray of hope for minorities living in a very critical situation in India’s three neighboring countries, ‘Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh’, along with refugees who came to India due to religious persecution but have not been given citizenship.
Shah assured that no Indian citizen will be stripped off his citizenship due to the CAB. “There are attempts to spread misinformation that this bill is against Muslims. Let me put it on record that it is not. This bill is only for minority communities of neighboring countries. It has nothing to do with Muslims in India,” Shah said. “Indian Muslims are safe and shall always remain safe… Please do not live in fear. Live fearlessly,” he added.
Speaking against the Bill, Congress leader P Chidambaram said that the legislation will not pass judicial scrutiny. “I dare the government to lay the opinion of the law department. I dare the government to invite the Attorney General to answer the questions. He called the move as unconstitutional”.
Congress lawmaker Kapil Sibal said that the CAB has a legal color of the two-nation theory. He said that he opposes the legislation as religion cannot be the basis for the acquisition of citizenship.
Shiv Sena lawmakers in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday boycotted voting on the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019. As soon as the voting began, Shiv Sena MPs walked out of the Upper House, reducing Opposition’s strength. Asked if they have boycotted the voting, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut outside Parliament said: “Yes, Shiv Sena has boycotted the voting.” The party has three lawmakers in Rajya Sabha.
Prime Minister’s reaction after the Historic bill, “A landmark day for India and our nation’s ethos of compassion and brotherhood! Glad that the #CAB2019 has been passed in the #RajyaSabha. Gratitude to all the MPs who voted in favor of the Bill. This Bill will alleviate the suffering of many who faced persecution for years,” PM Modi tweeted moments after the Rajya Sabha passed the CAB.