Citizenship (Amendment) Bill Clears 1st Step At Midnight After Fiery Debate: 10 Facts

The Citizenship Amendment Bill will head to the Rajya Sabha, now that it has been cleared by the Lok Sabha with a whopping majority.

Lok Sabha passed the bill on Monday, with 311 members voting in its support and just 80 against.

Highlights

  • Citizenship Amendment Bill cleared by Lok Sabha around midnight
  • Amit Shah rejects criticism it violates Constitution's core principles
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the Lok Sabha
New Delhi: The Citizenship Amendment Bill was cleared by the Lok Sabha around midnight on Monday after nearly 7 hours of heated discussions, with 311 voting in support and 80 against. It will be presented in the Rajya Sabha tomorrow. Union Home Minister Amit Shah rejected the opposition criticism that it violates the constitution's core principles of equality, saying it was not even "0.001% against India's minorities". He also questioned the Congress' right to describe the bill as discriminatory when it is the very party that "divided India on the grounds of religion" during the 1947 partition. The bill seeks to make it easier for non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to become Indian citizens.

Here are the top ten developments in the Citizenship Bill debate in parliament.

  1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the Lok Sabha minutes after the legislation was passed. "Delighted that the Lok Sabha has passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, after a rich and extensive debate. I thank the various MPs and parties that supported the bill. This bill is in line with India's centuries-old ethos of assimilation and belief in humanitarian values," he tweeted.

  2. Amit Shah said in his reply to the debate that the bill cannot be linked to the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to identify illegal immigrants. "We will bring NRC and bring it with clarity. There will be NRC. When NRC comes, all infiltrators will be identified," he said.

  3. As opposition members spoke about fear among Muslims, Amit Shah said the government was committed to giving equal rights to all people. "With Narendra Modi as Prime Minister, no citizen irrespective of religion needs to fear," he said.

  4. The Home Minister also said neither Muslims nor those from the Northeast should fear the bill because it only aimed to help minority migrants. "Lakhs and crores of such people have been suffering without homes, education and hygiene," he said.

  5. He rejected allegations that the bill was anti-Muslim, claiming that it has the endorsement of 130 crore citizens. "The Citizenship Amendment Bill does not include Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan only because they were not minorities there. It's as simple as that," he said.

  6. Amit Shah also denied claims that the centre was trying to turn India into a "Hindu Pakistan". "This is wrong. The population of Muslims in India has increased from 9.8 per cent to 14.2 per cent. On the other hand, the number of minorities in Pakistan has gone down from 23 per cent to 3.7 per cent," he said.

  7. The Union Minister explained that many parts of the Northeast have been excluded from the bill's purview in view of their objections. His assurance came amid protests in the region, where people claim that it will harm their identity.

  8. Although the Shiv Sena -- the BJP's ally-turned-rival in Maharashtra -- had earlier sent mixed signals on the bill, the party supported it at the end of the day. Sena MP Sanjay Raut had hinted at such an outcome in a tweet posted earlier.

  9. The Congress was vehement in its opposition to the legislation. "The bill is against the Constitution, against the spirit of Constitution and against the ideology propounded by Babasaheb Ambedkar," party leader Manish Tewari said. His party colleague, Shashi Tharoor, said the BJP's thought process was similar to that of Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

  10. The original Citizenship Act of 1955 stated that individuals seeking Indian citizenship should have lived in the country for 11 of the last 14 years. The amendment proposes to reduce that period to five years for non-Muslim applicants, and grants them immunity from administrative action under the National Register of Citizens.



(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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