Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday welcomed the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill by the Rajya Sabha, calling it "a landmark day for India and our nation's ethos of compassion and brotherhood". The BJP government on Wednesday secured parliamentary approval for the controversial citizenship law that promises citizenship to non-Muslims from neighbouring countries.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 or CAB seeks to grant Indian nationality to Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Parsis and Sikhs, who fled Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan before 2015. Opposition parties said the law undermines the country's secular constitution while protesters in the northeast opposed the move to legalise the immigrants.
The bill was passed by the upper house, the Rajya Sabha, of parliament with 125 members supporting it and 99 opposing on Wednesday, two days after clearing the Lok Sabha. It will now go to President Ram Nath Kovind for his ascent.
"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 favour of the Bill. This Bill will alleviate the suffering of many who faced persecution for years," PM Modi tweeted.
A landmark day for India and our nation's ethos of compassion and brotherhood!— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 11, 2019
Glad that the #CAB2019 has been passed in the #RajyaSabha. Gratitude to all the MPs who voted in favour of the Bill.
This Bill will alleviate the suffering of many who faced persecution for years.
Home Minister Amit Shah introduced the CAB the Rajya Sabha around noon on Wednesday, triggering a raucous debate. Opposition parties stood against the proposed law that would, for the first time, create a legal pathway to grant Indian nationality on the basis of religion, violating India's secular constitution.
The bill was originally introduced in 2016 during the Modi government's first term but lapsed after protests and an alliance partner's withdrawalThe ruling BJP, which had included the CAB as part of its manifesto in this year's general election, insist that it is necessary.
"In these three countries, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians, followers of these six religions have been tormented," Mr Shah said, before the bill was tabled after a vote.
(With inputs from agencies)