- Amit Shah said bill does not contradict any Article of Constitution
- Discussions on in Lok Sabha on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill
- Protests in some states in north-east over the bill
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Mr Shah said the bill is not even "0.001% against India's minorities". He asked for the bill to be introduced so that the discussions can be held on the merits of the bill, adding that at this point the merits of the bill shouldn't be discussed.
Mr Tharoor said, "Those who believe religion should determine nationhood, that was the idea of Pakistan." In the notice that Mr Tharoor gave this morning, he said the bill "endorses the idea of religious discrimination by allowing individuals of only six religious identities to acquire citizenship while excluding the individuals belonging to other religious identities".
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said they are against the bill. "The party will oppose it at all costs." The BJP maintains legislative action is required to provide shelter to "persecuted minorities" in neighbouring countries.
"This bill intends to protect people who have been religiously persecuted in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh... So how can you expect it to be secular?" Assam BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma told NDTV.
Uddhav Thackeray's Shiv Sena said "vote bank politics" under the garb of the bill is not in the interest of the country. The Sena in an editorial in its mouthpiece also questioned the timing of the bill. "There is no dearth of problems in India now but still we are inviting new ones such as CAB. It looks like the Centre has made an invisible partition of Hindus and Muslims over the bill," said the party.
The draft bill - cleared by the cabinet led by PM Modi recently - does make concessions for specific areas that are opposed to its implementation. To placate agitators in the north-east who believe that permanently settling illegal immigrant will disturb the demography of the region, the government has introduced provisions to exclude regions coming under the Inner Line Permit regime and the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said the bill is in the interest of the north-east states and the entire country. "This Bill is in the interest of northeast states and the country. The bill will get the nod from both the houses of parliament," Mr Joshi said. "It will be introduced in Lok Sabha after the question hour," he added.
The influential North East Students' Organisation has announced an 11-hour shutdown on Tuesday against what they believe is an attempt to tear down the Assam Accord of 1985, which fixed March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for deportation of all illegal immigrants irrespective of their religious background. In Assam, prominent student groups have threatened to launch an all-out agitation - similar to the one from last year - if the bill is passed.
The Narendra Modi government had introduced the bill in its previous tenure too, even gaining the Lok Sabha's approval, but could not introduce it in the upper house due to protests in the northeast. The legislation eventually lapsed.
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 time period to five years for non-Muslim applicants, and grants them immunity from government action pertaining to their illegal status.