New Delhi, Dec 9: The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill on Monday cleared the first test in the Lok Sabha, with 293 members voting in favour of the bill’s introduction and 82 against it.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah introduced the contentious Bill in the Lok Sabha and said that it is not even 0.001 per cent against the minorities in the country.

 

“This Bill is not even 0.001 per cent against minorities in the country,” Shah said in the House, amid much uproar by the opposition.

“Why do we need this Bill today? After independence, if Congress had not done partition on the basis on religion, then, today we would have not needed this Bill. Congress did partition on the basis of religion,” Shah commented while taking potshots at the opposition party.

“If any Muslim from these three (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh) nations applies for citizenship according to our law, then we will consider it, but the person won’t get the benefit of this amendment as the person has not faced religious persecution,” he further said.

“Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Parsis and Jains have been discriminated against. So this bill will give these persecuted people citizenship. Also, the allegation that this bill will take away the rights of Muslims is wrong,” Shah said.

OPPOSITION PROTESTS OVER RELIGIOUS DIVIDE

As Amit Shah introduced the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Lok Sabha, the House erupted in protests with AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi comparing the Home Minister to Hitler and being reprimanded by Speaker Om Birla.

Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury slammed the Bill and said, “It nothing but a targeted legislation over minority people of our country”, to which Amit Shah hit back and said, “This Bill is not even .001% against minorities in the country”.

Asaduddin Owaisi in Lok Sabha: I appeal to you (Speaker), save country from such a law & save Home Minister also otherwise like in Nuremberg race laws and Israel’s citizenship act, Home Minister’s name will be featured with Hitler and David Ben-Gurion. #CitizenshipAmendmentBill2019

Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy said, “This bill is divisive and unconstitutional, it violates Article 14 of the Constitution. This law is against everything our founding fathers including Dr Ambedkar envisioned.”

Owaisi took the criticism to another level and said, “I appeal to you (Speaker), save country from such a law and save Home Minister also otherwise like in Nuremberg race laws and Israel’s citizenship act, Home Minister’s name will be featured with Hitler and David Ben-Gurion.”

To this the Speaker warned Owaisi and said the comment will be expunged the House records.

WHAT IS THE CITIZENSHIP BILL

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill seeks to change the six-decade-old Citizenship Act and grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan facing religious persecution in these neighbouring countries.

Members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, till December 31, 2014, facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but be given Indian citizenship, according to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), 2019.

“In Citizenship Act, in Section 2 in sub-section (i), in clause (b) the following proviso shall be inserted namely:- “provided that any person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who entered into India on or before the 31st day of December 2014 and who has been exempted by the central government by or under clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 3 of the passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 or from the application of the provisions of the Foreigners Act 1946 or any rule or order made thereunder shall not be treated as illegal migrants for the purposes of this Act,” the Bill said.

Such refugees will be given Indian citizenship after they have resided in India for five years (six years in CAB 2016), instead of 11 years earlier, it said.

The Bill also proposes to give immunity to such refugees facing legal cases after being found illegal migrants. (AGENCIES)

Bill not even .001 % against minorities: Shah

New Delhi, Dec 9: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday introduced contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in Lok Sabha and said that it is not even .001 per cent against minorities in the country.

“This Bill is not even .001 per cent against minorities in the country,” Shah said in the House, amid much uproar by the opposition.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.

Through this bill, Indian citizenship will be provided to the members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from the three countries to India till December 31, 2014, to put an end to them being treated as illegal immigrants in the country.

It is important to note that the Bill was passed by the Lower House of the Parliament earlier this year but lapsed with the term of the previous Lok Sabha during the first term of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government in the Centre. (Agencies)

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