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Lok Sabha nod to Citizenship (Amendment) Bill

The Opposition parties led by the Congress requested the Speaker to send the Bill to a select committee

Tuesday January 8, 2019 8:21 PM, ummid.com News Network

Citizenship Bill

[The Opposition parties led by the Congress requested the Speaker to send the Bill to a select committee. (Photo: Biju Boro/AFP/Getty Images)]

New Delhi: Lok Sabha - the lower house of the Indian Parliament on Tuesday passed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 amidst protests by Opposition parties including Congress and Trinamool Congress (TMC).

The Bill grants Indian citizenship to non-Muslim minority immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who have entered India before December 31, 2014. The Bill was first cleared by a joint parliamentary committee and then tabled in Lok Sabha by Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 was cleared by the Union cabinet on Monday. Upset over the Bhartiya Janata Party's insistence over passing the Bill, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) withdrew support to 2-year-old state government in Assam.

The Opposition parties led by the Congress requested the Speaker to send the Bill to a select committee.

“Many people have reservations about the Bill,” Congress party leader in the hosue, Mallikarjun Kharge, said.

Kharge also highlighted the unrest in Assam over the Bill as it does not address the Assam Accord. the party walked out of the Lok Sabha after Mahajan did not pay heed to its demand.

TMC's Saugata Roy dubbed the bill as "divisive" and "insidious" that goes against the basic tenents of the constitution

"This is the worst form of vote-bank politics", Roy said adding that the Bill would “lead to fires” not just in Assam, but in the entire northeast.

The Bill was also opposed by P R Kunhalikutty (IUML), Jayprakash Narayan Yadav (RJD) and Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) who all contended that it was against the Constitution. Mizoram and Meghalaya governments too have opposed the bill by adopting resolution against it in their respective cabinet meetings.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh however told the Opposition that the bill was not against the provisions of the Constitution and would give succour to persecuted minorities in the three neighbouring countries.

"They have no place to go to, except India," he said, adding several leaders, including first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, were in favour of giving shelter to persecuted minorities in the neighouring countries.

Interestingly, the BJP supports migration of Hindus and others from the neighboring countries, but it is opposed to Bangla speaking Assamese Muslims who are living in the state since decades. The Modi government also received flak from the United Nations for forcefully sending back to Myanmar Rohingya Muslim refugees taken shelterin India.

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